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Cablegate: Gamal Mubarak Champions Health Care Reform And

VZCZCXRO8694
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #2210/01 3291536
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251536Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4342
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 002210

SIPDIS

NSC FOR AGUIRRE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/24/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM ECON EG
SUBJECT: GAMAL MUBARAK CHAMPIONS HEALTH CARE REFORM AND
EGYPTIAN SOCCER

REF: A. CAIRO 2166 B. CAIRO 2209 C. CAIRO 2193 Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Donald A. Blome Reasons: 1.4 (B) and (D)
1.Key Points: --(C) Gamal Mubarak figured prominently at the Ministry of Health,s annual conference launching the health care reform initiative. --(C) Gamal called health care the issue of greatest concern to Egyptians but said he expecting sharp resistance to change. Gamal called for strong leadership to push forward key health reform legislation. --(C) At a question and answer session Gamal said NDP economic policies had mitigated the country,s unemployment difficulties and noted concern about Iranian interference in the affairs of Arab countries. -- (C) Gamal expressed emotion when discussing Egyptian pride after violence following Egypt's World Cup qualifier loss to Algeria.

2.(C) Comment: Gamal's presence at the conference was clearly part of an effort to underscore his leadership role in implementing the new NDP-proposed reform agenda. Sending Gamal also underscores the importance the National Democratic Party (NDP)places on its effort to respond to the economic hardships faced by key rural and urban constituencies before 2010 parliamentary elections. Gamal, not known as a health-care expert, was wooden in the delivery of his speech, a contrast to his participation at the NDP conference. Gamal showed real passion only when the topic of recent Algeria-Egypt soccer violence cam up. Gamal's, until recently, lower profile brother Alaa has overnight become a national hero following his harsh anti-Algerian comments. Gamal, a well-known soccer fan, has suddenly found himself the second most talked-about presidential son. End Comment.

3.(C) NDP Assistant Secretary General for Policy Gamal Mubarak served serve as the keynote speaker at the Ministry of Health's sixth annual conference on November 22 and 23. This was Gamal's first time at the conference for doctors and medical professionals. Gamal's presence signaled NDP (and thus GOE) seriousness about health care reform (additional reporting on the proposed plan will follow septel) first announced at the NDP Annual Conference (Reftel A) and prominent in the government's presented by President Mubarak in his annual address to parliament (Reftel B).

4.(C) During the conference Gamal played the role of advocate for proposed reform before a supportive audience of government workers, although likely concerned themselves about the changes reform would bring. He called health care reform the most pressing issue facing the country and added he heard concerns about rising health care expenses "when I travel around the country." Explaining his presence at the conference, Gamal said the GoE needed to convey its reform message directly to the people before Parliament convenes. Gamal anticipated resistance to the legislation from the &status quo8 and expected reform would prove &difficult.8 Gamal stressed what he called &honest dialogue8 with health care workers (and the country as a whole) about the promises of the new system and underscored the need for "strong leadership." -------------------- The Economy and Iran --------------------

5.(C) Following his speech, Gamal participated in a 45 minute question and answer session. Questions were vetted by the Minister of Health Hatem El Gabaly. His responses were generally superficial and he took no follow-up questions. Gamal declined to answer most questions not on health reform. Gamal did defend the country,s economic policies at some length. He complained that the NDP,s programs were underestimated and misunderstood; people did not fully grasp the extent of reform and its affect nationwide. Using unemployment as an example, he said the rate was "high, but it could have been higher if nothing had been done over the last 4 years." On Iran, he explained that significant differences remain between the two countries and stated emphatically that Iran should not interfere in Egypt,s internal affairs nor do so in other Arab countries. CAIRO 00002210 002 OF 002 -------------- National Pride --------------

6.(C) Gamal concluded the session by addressing the recent turmoil surrounding the Egypt-Algeria World Cup matches (Reftel C). Acknowledging &problems," he leaned forward in his seat and told the audience that Egyptians must have national pride. Growing increasingly passionate and raising his voice for the first time, Gamal stated that &our voice must be heard in the Arab World.8 He explained that following the match, he refused to leave the country until able to accompany the national soccer team to the airport and ensure they left Sudan safely. Only then, did he depart to return to Egypt. He called support for the national team "critical" and said that he was very proud to be an Egyptian, especially on the night of the Khartoum match. Scobey

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