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Cablegate: Demarche Delivered: Montreal Convention and Costa

VZCZCXYZ0028
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0861 3052204
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 312204Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0233
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000861

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EEB/TRA/OTP BJSILER, EBB/TRA/AN DHUTCHENS AND
WHA/CEN; PLEASE PASS TO FAA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CS EAIR ECON ICAO
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE DELIVERED: MONTREAL CONVENTION AND COSTA
RICA

REF: STATE 109135

1. (U) Econoffs met with officials of the Direccion General
Aviacion Civil (DGAC) on October 28 to urge the GOCR to
ratify the Montreal Convention (reftel). DGAC officials, led
by DG Jorge Fernandez Chacon, affirmed the GOCR's commitment
to the principles of the Convention and their interest in
ratifying it.

2. (U) However, Chacon maintained that the DGAC had completed
its role last year by recommending that the Convention be
ratified. Action had passed to the Casa Presidencial (where
the Convention is still under review) and would ultimately
move to the Legislative Assembly (national legislature) for
ratification. Given the Legislative Assembly,s arcane rules
and plodding pace, however, ratification may not come soon.
According to Chacon and his team, the DGAC can only follow-up
its request and push to have the Convention sent quickly from
the Casa Presidencial to the Legislative Assembly. Once the
legislature takes up action, the Executive branch,s ability
to speed ratification is limited.

3. (U) Chacon said he had contacted Casa Presidencial in May
to determine the progress on the request to ratify the
Montreal Convention. Casa Presidencial told him then that
completing the Central American Free Trade Agreement
(CAFTA-DR) was the GOCR's top legislative priority; other
issues would be addressed after CAFTA-DR implementing
legislation was completed.

4. (U) The DGAC officials assured Econffs they would try to
speed up the ratification of the Montreal Convention in two
ways. First, they would remind the Casa Presidencial that
ratification is also of interest to the USG. Second, the
DGAC would work with Diputado Luis Carlos Araya (PLN) of the
Legislative Assembly, a key supporter of aviation issues.
Araya is a pilot by trade and has previously assisted the
DGAC in getting legislation passed and treaties ratified.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: The GOCR may seem to be moving at a
snail,s pace toward ratification of the Montreal Convention,
but Chacon and his DGAC team accurately describe the
challenges. Until the end of this year, the Arias
administration is likely to remain focused on implementing
CAFTA-DR. All other legislative priorities, including those
far more politically important than the Convention (such as
fixing the nation,s outmoded crime laws or funding the
crumbling national infrastructure), will be delayed. In
addition, with the next national elections scheduled for
early 2010, the legislative process here may be even more
complicated (and slower) than usual during 2009, which will
be dominated by the (already started) political campaign.
Thus, although we will continue to follow this issue and urge
ratification of the Montreal Convention, we do not anticipate
fast action.
CIANCHETTE

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