Salman Rushdie has promised not to authorize a paperback version of his controversial novel "The Satanic Verses," a group of Islamic and Egyptian officials announced Monday.

Hesham el-Essawy, president of the Islamic Society for the Promotion of Religious Tolerance, released a statement in which Rushdie also declared he does not agree with any statements uttered by characters in the book that cast aspersions on Islam, question the authenticity of the Koran, or reject the divinity of Allah.He also agreed not to authorize any further translations of the work.

"I talked to Salman a couple of minutes ago. That is his statement and he signed it," said Frances D'Souza, who is chairman of Rushdie's defense committee.

Rushdie has been in hiding under police guard since February 1989, when Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said the writer deserved death as a blasphemer.

"This is the way we hope that will earn Rushdie's release from his predicament. This is how we intend to make him a free man," said el-Essawy.