'Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong leader, said on Tuesday the extradition bill that sparked the territory's biggest political crisis in decades was dead, admitting that the government's work on the bill had been a "total failure".
However, the embattled leader again stopped short of protester demands to immediately withdraw the bill.
"There are still lingering doubts about the government's sincerity or worries (about) whether the government will restart the process with the Legislative Council. So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead," she said.
The bill, which would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China to face trial, sparked huge and at times violent street protests and plunged the former British colony into turmoil.
In mid-June Ms Lam responded to huge protests by suspending the bill, but that move failed to mollify critics, who continued to demonstrate against the bill and call for Lam's resignation.
Ms Lam's declaration was not enough to satisfy the protesters.
A key Hong Kong protest group behind the mass rallies vowed to hold fresh protests.
"If our five demands are still not heard by Carrie Lam and her government, the Civil Human Rights Forum will continue to hold protests and assemblies," spokeswoman Bonnie Leung told reporters, adding details of the new protests would be released in due course.
Joshua Wong, a leading activist, said Ms Lam's statement was "another ridiculous lie" because "the bill still exists in the 'legislative programme' until July next year".
Demonstrators have also called for Ms Lam to resign, for an independent investigation into police actions against protesters, and for the government to abandon the description of a violent protest on June 12 as a riot.
Ms Lam agreed to meet student protesters without preconditions, adding she recognised the swirling economic, political and social challenges facing the city.
"I come to the conclusion that there are some fundamental and deep-seated problems in Hong Kong society," she said.'
Read more: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam declares extradition bill 'dead' - but stops short of withdrawing it
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