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Cablegate: Thailand Civ Air: Proposal for Open Skies Talks

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS BANGKOK 005454

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EB, EB/TRA/AN, EAP, EAP/BCLTV, AND L/EB
TRANSPORTATION FOR EDWARD OPPLER AND KEITH GLATZ
COMMERCE FOR ITA:JBENDER AND JKELLEY
SINGAPORE FOR FAA: HOWARD NESBITT
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USTR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ECON ETRD PREL TH
SUBJECT: THAILAND CIV AIR: PROPOSAL FOR OPEN SKIES TALKS
7-8 SEPTEMBER 2005

REF: A. A) BANGKOK 5393
B. B) SECSTATE 147598
C. C) SECSTATE 155552

1. (U) This cable is an action request. Please see paragraph
6.

2. (U) As reported in Ref A, Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra recently proposed sending an Open Skies delegation
to Washington before his scheduled visit to the United States
with an eye to be able to announce substantial progress
toward (or, ideally, conclusion of) an Open Skies Agreement
when he meets with President Bush in September.

3. (U) In support of this objective, and pursuant to guidance
set forth in Ref B, Embassy has conveyed the substance of USG
concerns with respect to the lack of progress to date toward
an Open Skies Agreement to the office of Minister of
Transport Pongsak Raktapongpaisal, as well as to working
level contacts. It is the Embassy's understanding that the
Minister of Transport shares the Prime Minister's commitment
to expediting conclusion of an Open Skies Agreement. The
Minister is aware that an agreement would not include
cabotage rights. He is considering sending a delegation to
Washington on September 7-8 (with September 9 held in
reserve) to negotiate an agreement based on the model text.
Embassy expects to receive formal notification and details of
such plans from the Ministry at a meeting with the Embassy
Chief of Mission, currently scheduled for September 2.
Embassy has passed a copy of the model text of an Open Skies
Agreement to our contacts within the Ministry. It is our
understanding that Thai civil aviation officials are familiar
with the particulars of the model text.

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4. (U) Pusuant to Ref C, Embassy has scheduled consultations
on aviation safety oversight between the Department of Civil
Aviation and Federal Aviation Administration officials
visiting Thailand on August 31. The FAA delegation consists
of Larry G. Kephart, David M. Smith, Michael E. Daniel, and
Robert Andrews Edwards.

5. (U) Post believes that this moment in advance of the Prime
Minister's visit to the United
States represents our best hope to conclude an Open Skies
Agreement. High-level attention to the issue and senior Thai
officials' desire for an agreement in the context of the
Prime Minister's upcoming visit to the United States stands
out in stark contrast to longstanding resistance at the
working level from Thai Airways and its allies in the
bureaucracy. The present government's desire to revitalize
tourism in the wake of last year's devastating tsunami and
plans to make Thailand an aviation hub offer compelling
motive for an agreement at the highest levels. The window of
opportunity is likely to be open for only a short time.
Accordingly, we support accepting the Prime Minister's
proposal to send a delegation to negotiate an agreement in
early September.

6. (U) ACTION REQUESTED: Please advise as to Washington
agencies' views on receiving a Thai Open Skies delegation
September 7-9 for two days of negotiations, with one day to
be held in reserve. Embassy wishes to be able to confirm the
availability of the above dates in its exchanges with the
office of the Minister of Transport before the meeting
scheduled for September 2.
BOYCE

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