Burma's embattled socialist regime Tuesday appealed to the civilian population to help restore vital transport and food distribution services crippled by nationwide strikes and anti-government protests.

The urgent call for public cooperation over Radio Rangoon came as former Prime Minister U Nu and a key dissident military leader worked to establish Burma's first opposition party in 26 years, in defiance of the country's one-party constitution.The official radio said labor unrest had caused food shortages and "exorbitant prices."