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Cablegate: Highlights of President Mubarak's Address Opening

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

191553Z Dec 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 009352

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NSC STAFF FOR SINGH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PREL EG
SUBJECT: HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESIDENT MUBARAK'S ADDRESS OPENING
PARLIAMENT


Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) During an address on December 19, President Mubarak
opened parliament with a 40-minute address that emphasized
political and economic reform but did not contain any major
new proposals or signal any changes of course. This is not
unusual, as Mubarak rarely uses the annual parliamentary
opening to launch new initiatives. The following is an
overview of the speech:

----------------
Political Reform
----------------

2. (U) President Mubarak made political reform a centerpiece
of his address:

-- He described the recent presidential and parliamentary
elections as a step toward political reform.

-- He acknowledged that there were still challenges that
needed to be studied and tackled so as not to obstruct "our
march toward democracy."

3. (U) Mubarak emphasized his commitment to the principles
outlined in his campaign, particularly:

-- Equality of citizens regardless of sex, religion,
ideology, etc.;

-- respect for the freedoms and rights of citizens;

-- the supremacy of law and judicial authority;

-- strengthening the role of political parties and civil
society organizations and empowering women;

-- combating unemployment and opening new markets; and

-- realizing a society that supports intellectuals,
scientists and innovators.

-------------------------------
The Parliament's Responsibility
-------------------------------

4. (U) On the new parliament and its mission, President
Mubarak stressed that both the majority and the opposition
share a responsibility, beyond their normal legislative and
oversight duties, to continue democratic reform. Mubarak
also emphasized that the Egyptian people's desires must be
taken into account in pursuing further constitutional reforms.

--------------------------------------
Legislative Agenda for the Coming Term
--------------------------------------

5. (U) On the legislative agenda for the coming term,
Mubarak mentioned:

-- a bill that would strengthen the independence of the
judiciary;

-- new legal articles governing the press and publications;

-- a review of laws concerning criminal procedures, including
administrative detention;

-- a new law to establish commercial courts that would deal
with corporate and consumer disputes;

-- a new law that would establish an educational quality
control authority that would raise Egyptian education to
international standards; and

-- new bills to complete the reform of tax laws/trade
transactions, etc.

--------------
Foreign Policy
--------------

6. (U) On foreign policy Mubarak stressed his commitment to
security and stability in the region; commitment to the MEPP;
and determination to use Egypt's international prestige to
attract more investment and tourism.

-------
Economy
-------

7. (U) Mubarak underscored his determination to increase
employment (promising to create 4.5 million sustainable jobs
over the coming six years); services (including 12 projects
related to housing, transportation, health, education and
infrastructure, access to clean water and sewage system
networks, and developing squatter settlements); social
security (reforming pensions and public wage systems); and a
program for the middle class (to include access to finance
for mortgages and education).


JONES

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