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Cablegate: France Supports U.S.-Eu Open Skies Plus Agreement

VZCZCXRO7948
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHFR #1033 0751557
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161557Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5693
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY 1956
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS PARIS 001033

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/TRA, EUR/WE
USEU FOR MORENSKI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIA EAIR ECON PREL FR
SUBJECT: FRANCE SUPPORTS U.S.-EU OPEN SKIES PLUS AGREEMENT

REF: SECSTATE 29781

1. (SBU) Econoff delivered reftel points March 14 to Olivier
Berthelot, Technical Counselor for Aviation to Minister of
Transportation Dominique Perben. Berthelot reiterated French
support for the draft agreement, and said that Perben would
be calling allies on the issue (mentioning the Netherlands,
Ireland and Germany in particular) in advance of the March 22
Council meeting to co-ordinate positions in order to prevent
it foundering on the U.K.'s opposition. France's
understanding is that unanimous consent is required for
adoption. Perben apparently does not envisage making any
public statements of support at this point. An earlier call
to Jean-Michel Bour, Director of International and
Multilateral Affairs at the French Civil Aviation Authority
produced a similar statement of support for the agreement,
though Bour implied that if pressure was needed to bring the
U.K. around, it would have to be exercised by the U.S. rather
than France. The Ambassador addressed a follow-up letter to
Perben March 16 urging him to support the agreement both in
public and with his European partners, including the U.K.


2. (SBU) Acting Deputy Chief of Mission also discussed the
issue March 8 with the Air France CEO's Chief of Staff, Guy
Tardieu, who underlined Air France's support for the
agreement, but expressing skepticism that the GOF would weigh
in strongly with the U.K. in favor of the agreement. Tardieu
also underlined that Air France had quickly released a press
communiqu on 6 March describing the advantages of the
proposed agreement and "publicly supporting the final
conclusion of an agreement." That press release formed the
basis of a very positive March 15 op-ed in the Wall Street
Journal signed by Air France CEO Spinetta and KLM CEO Van
Wijk.
Please visit Paris' Classified Website at:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm

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