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Cablegate: Request for White House Endorsement Of

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRB #0735/01 2430711
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 310711Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0616
INFO RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 6093
RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA 0313
RUEHFR/USMISSION UNESCO PARIS 0005

UNCLAS RABAT 000735

SIPDIS

STATE FOR R, ECA, IO/UNESCO, NEA/PPD AND NEA/MAG
NSC FOR DIRECTOR FOR SYRIA, LEBANON AND NORTH AFRICA
MEAGHEN MCDERMOTT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OEXC PREL OPDC KISL MO
SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR WHITE HOUSE ENDORSEMENT OF
MATA-RANGI SAHARA EXPEDITION FROM MOROCCO TO FLORIDA

1. Summary: This is an action request. UNESCO
Goodwill Ambassador Kitin Munoz Valcarcel is
planning a fourth Mata-Rangi expedition -- from
Tarfaya, Morocco, to Florida in 2010. Munoz has the
support of King Mohammed VI of Morocco and UNESCO
Director General Koichiro Matsuura. Munoz seeks no
financial support from the United States but would
like moral support in the form of a letter of
endorsement from the President, especially in the
context of U.S. efforts to build stronger ties with
Muslim and African countries. Munoz has previously
received official endorsements from the King, Crown
Prince and Prime Minister of Spain, as well as the
Presidents of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Panama.
Munoz's plan and request are outlined in paragraph
3, and a proposed response may be found in paragraph
4. End summary.

2. During 40 years of studies and expeditions,
Munoz, a member of the Explorers Club of New York,
has previously made four expeditions aboard reed
rafts: from Peru to Tahiti in 1987, to Easter
Island in 1997, from Chile to the Marquesas Islands
in 1999, and from Spain to Cape Verde in 2001. He
has decided to bring together Moroccan, Bolivian and
Iraqi craftsmen to construct a new boat, the Mata-
Rangi Sahara, in Tarfaya, Morocco, starting this
winter and then sail it to Florida in the spring.
He chose Florida as his destination in part because
a slave named Mustafa Zemmouri who was more commonly
known as Estevanico, the first Moroccan and first
African known to have reached what has become the
Continental United States, traveled to Florida and
Texas in 1527 and modern-day New Mexico and Arizona
by 1537.

3. The text of Ambassador Munoz's letter follows.

Begin text.

TO MR. BARACK OBAMA
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Rabat - July 16th, 2009

Mr. President,

Please let me begin by sincerely congratulating you
for your decisive development actions, both in the
United States of American and worldwide. At the
international level, your work greatly symbolizes a
message of peace among peoples and nations, large
and small, rich or poor, on the voice of
development, for a better united world.

Explorer of ethnology, working since 1988 in the
field of experimental archeology and primitive
navigation, I have the great honor to present you,
Sir, my new expedition:

MATA-RANGI SAHARA EXPEDITION: MOROCCO-AMERICA.

Like my previous four trips, this expedition's main
objective is to cross the Atlantic ocean on a reed
raft, built according to ancient traditional
methods, to demonstrate the maritime abilities of
primitive people, who have, long before Columbus,
transported their culture between islands and
between continents. Backed by UNESCO and several
institutions and universities, the expedition
project will also hold debates, studies and
scientific conferences, highlighting the skills and
lifestyles of ancient cultures and their historical
interrelationships in order to attract the attention
of the international community for the necessary
preservation of the contemporary relics of these
cultures.

The new Mata-Rangi Sahara raft will be built in
Tarfaya, a small town in the Kingdom of Morocco,
located in the desert, facing the sea. It is in
Tarfaya that Antoine de Saint-Exupry wrote his
major work, "The Little Prince". A camp of
"Khaima", black tents of nomadic desert tribes, will
house, for several months, the work of an
international scientific team, while Bolivian, Iraqi

and Moroccan craftsmen unite their efforts to build
the vessel using Totora reeds which grow in Titicaca
Lake, Bolivia. The maritime voyage will begin in
Morocco at the port of Tarfaya to finish on the
shores of Florida in the United States. The crew
will be multicultural, Moroccan, American and
European. Upon its' arrival, the expedition will be
an opportunity to organize, in the United States, a
grand scientific and cultural exhibition. Mata-
Rangi Sahara Expedition will convey a message of
peace from the Arab-Muslim world to the West and the
international community. The expedition has been
blessed by His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco.

Mr. President, considering the moral, humanitarian
and cultural framework of this project which is
aligned with the spirit of openness and cooperation
conveyed by the United States of America on a global
scale, I seek your support for the Mata-Rangi Sahara
Expedition. Your blessing will be crucial to the
success of this project. All participants - crew,
craftsmen and scientists - would perceive it as an
exceptional moral motivation.

Hoping for a positive response to my request, I
remain at your disposal for any information and I
ask you, Sir, to accept the assurances of my most
respectful greetings.

/S/
Kitin Munoz Valcarcel

MATA-RANGI SHARA EXPEDITION

End text.

4. A draft letter of endorsement follows.

Begin text.

The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

Thank you for sharing your plans to construct the
Mata-Rangi Sahara and to sail it from Morocco to the
United States in 2010.

As my Administration and I endeavor to establish
stronger ties between the United States and both
Muslim and African nations, it is fitting that such
a journey begin in the first country to recognize
the independent United States. I understand that
modern-day Morocco is also your place of birth but
that you will employ not only Moroccan craftsmen but
also Bolivians and Iraqis to help you and your
Moroccan, American and European crew to carry a
message of peace from the Arab-Muslim World to the
West and the international community.

We need ideas and efforts such as yours to highlight
man's willingness to explore and comprehend himself
and others.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

End text.

5. Embassy has pouched Ambassador Munoz's letter
and a mission prospectus in a Moroccan leather
case to NEA/MAG for delivery to the White House.
Please advise.

Jackson

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