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Cablegate: Egyptian Govt Wire Service Mistakenly Reports

VZCZCXRO3308
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #2305 2071447
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 261447Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6290
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 0043
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS CAIRO 002305

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC STAFF FOR WATERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EG KN
SUBJECT: EGYPTIAN GOVT WIRE SERVICE MISTAKENLY REPORTS
RULING PARTY TO ELECT NEW PRESIDENT

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Egypt's official wire service, the Middle East
News Agency (MENA), created brief confusion on 7/26 when it
disseminated a text message to mobile phone subscribers which
reported that National Democratic Party (NDP) Secretary
General Safwat El-Sherif had announced that "The coming
conference of the National Party will witness for the first
time the election of a new party president."

2. (SBU) According to Mohamed Kamal, NDP spokesman, whom we
contacted immediately, Sherif had been misquoted. In fact,
said Kamal, the party will be using a new electoral system
for its November party elections. The fact that "there will
be a new election for the party president doesn't mean the
election of a new president."

3. (SBU) Comment: Had the MENA announcement been
correct--which it was not--it would have meant that President
Hosni Mubarak was stepping down from his party leadership
position, a development which have jump-started the
succession rumor mill. MENA has already issued a correction
(e-mailed to desk), which describes the new party election
process. MENA is not having a good day: earlier on 7/26,
MENA announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il would be
making his first ever visit to Egypt. In fact, the North
Korean visitor is envoy Kim Jong Nam. MENA has also
corrected its mistaken report about the Korean visitor.
RICCIARDONE

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