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Cablegate: Morocco: Progress Toward a Seismic Monitoring

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRB #1099/01 1840849
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030849Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6852
INFO RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 4460
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 9319
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT PRIORITY 3516
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS RABAT 001099

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/MAG AND L
NOAA (ED KRUSE)
DEPT OES (FERNANDO ECHAVARRIA AND BOB SENSENEY)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIA PARM MO
SUBJECT: MOROCCO: PROGRESS TOWARD A SEISMIC MONITORING
STATION AGREEMENT

REF: 04 RABAT 01121

1. (U) Summary: On March 25, Department of the Air Force
Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs Michael
Zehner and Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC)
representative Bill Barker held successful follow on
negotiations with Said Belcadi, Director of Morocco,s
National Center for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST)
on a draft seismic monitoring agreement. The U.S. and
Morocco made substantial progress toward concluding an
agreement to establish a seismic monitoring station in
Morocco, after reaching consensus on minor changes proposed
by Morocco to the draft text. Next, an AFTAC technical team
will visit Morocco in the fall 2007 to conduct noise surveys
to identify the most appropriate location for the station.
End Summary.

2. (U) Air Force Deputy General Counsel Michael Zehner and
AFTAC representative Bill Barker discussed March 25 changes
proposed by Morocco to the seismic monitoring station
agreement with CNRST Director Said Belcadi, CNRST Geologist
Prof. Aomar Iben Brahim, MFA Legal Advisor Abdelatif Sadafi,
and several other technical specialists from CNRST. (NB:
CNRST, a quasi-governmental institution, has considerable
latitude in its activities as a research body, but ultimately
falls under the purview of the Ministry of Education,
Professional Training, and Scientific Research.)

3. (U) Belcadi began the discussions by recalling the
progress achieved in the 2004 negotiations (reftel), and
reiterated Morocco,s desire to conclude the agreement in as
timely a manner as possible. He also agreed to host an AFTAC
technical team in the fall to conduct another round of noise
surveys at two potential monitoring station locations. (NB:
AFTAC and CNRST geologists have been in contact about a
technical visit in October/November.)

4. (U) The GOM team raised several minor changes to the 2004
draft agreement, in large part previously presented via a MFA
diplomatic note addressed to the Embassy dated May 7, 2007
(that Embassy forwarded to AFTAC for review). Moroccan
remarks centered on: the Joint Scientific Commission's role
in budget issues (Article III), training for CNRST personnel
on analysis and processing of seismic data (Article IV),
CNRST responsibilities for supporting the station (Article
V), and the GOM delegation also requested further
clarification on the scope of the third party transfers
section (Article VI).

5. (U) The proposals suggested by the GOM team were
relatively minor and both delegations easily resolved the
differences and reached consensus on acceptable text in each
case. The U.S and Morocco agreed that the current text is
ready to be reviewed in each capital, followed by preparation
of the agreement for signature. (Note: Barker informed
Embassy that AFTAC will directly transmit the latest
agreement text to the Department. End Note.)

6. (U) On several occasions through the discussions, GOM
negotiators highlighted potential difficulties associated
with acquiring appropriate land rights at the two proposed
site locations, located near Boumia (Midelt Region) and near
Oussilkane (Anti Atlas). All indications suggest that
Morocco currently favors establishing the seismic monitoring
station at the Boumia site, ostensibly due to the difficulty
involved in accessing the Anti Atlas site, which is located
in a mountainous region and not in close proximity to
established transport routes. Barker suggested that
discussions concerning site location be deferred until
analysis of the upcoming noise surveys is complete. The GOM
team agreed.

7. (U) Comment: The flexibility displayed by Belcadi and the
GOM delegation on modifications they had initially proposed
was encouraging, and likely reflects Morocco's desire to ink
the agreement sooner rather than later. We believe an
expeditious signing of the agreement may result in a
similarly prompt determination of a station site location
(once the noise surveys have taken place). End Comment.


******************************************
Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/rabat

******************************************

RILEY

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