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Cablegate: Prices Produce Protests

VZCZCXRO9701
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2009 2361137
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241137Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4270
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 002009

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, AF/EPS AND EB/IFD
DEPT PLEASE PASS USAID FOR AFR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON PGOV EAID EPET PREL SU
SUBJECT: Prices Produce Protests

Ref: Khartoum 2007

1. Summary: Opposition parties have reacted vocally to the move by
the Minister of Finance to raise fuel and sugar prices. Opposition
members of the National Assembly have called for the Assembly to be
recalled from its summer recess. Some groups are calling for civil
action, most likely in the form of a stay home strike on Saturday,
August 26. The NCP is rallying its members to support the price
increases and, at the same time, reject the US-UK plan for UN
peacekeepers in Darfur. End Summary.

Opposition Parties Condemn Price Increases
------------------------------------------

2. The Minister of Finance announced increases in the price for
gasoline, diesel and sugar on August 17 (reftel). In reaction,
opposition parties have voiced their criticism of the government.
The SPLM, although a member of the Government of National Unity
(GNU), quickly spoke out against the increases claiming that it was
not even consulted, in spite of the Minister of Finance's statement
that the increase was passed by the Council of Ministers.

3. The Umma, the Popular Congress, the Baathist, the Nasirists and
the Communist parties all opposed the price increases. Some of these
parties are currently circulating hand-outs among the people calling
for civil action and suggesting that the public not go to work as an
expression of protest to the increases. The NDA in spite of their
participation in the GNU, opposed the increases and threatened to
withdraw from the GNU if the government does not reverse its
decision

4. Public transportation was disrupted by the increase in fuel
prices. Some transport companies increased tickets prices while
others stopped operating temporarily. As a result, bus terminals
were congested and commuters delayed.

NCP to Meet
-----------

5. The NCP called for an urgent meeting of party officials on August
23, to discuss the price increases as well as the US-UK proposal of
deployment of international troops in Darfur. The meeting of the NCP
leading officials will be attended by the NCP parliamentary members
in a step to mobilize them to support the price increases and to
support President Bashir in his rejection of the "foreign
intervention" in Darfur.

HUME

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