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Cablegate: Angola: Transport Minister's Meeting with Dot

VZCZCXRO4715
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA
DE RUEHC #0241/01 3242159
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 202152Z NOV 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHLU/AMEMBASSY LUANDA PRIORITY 1142
INFO RHMCSUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/TRANSPORTATION DEPT WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY 0804
RHMFIUU/TSA HQ WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
ALL AFRICAN DIPLOMATIC POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 STATE 120241

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
DOT FOR OST (SMCDERMOTT AND
JDEBOER)
DOT FOR OITT (CWILSON-HUNTER)
TSA FOR OGS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AO EAIR EINV ETRD PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: ANGOLA: TRANSPORT MINISTER'S MEETING WITH DOT
SECRETARY LAHOOD

This cable is sensitive but unclassified. Handle accordingly.

Secretarial-level Meeting
--------------------------
1. (SBU) On November 4, 2009, Secretary of Transportation
Ray LaHood held a thirty-minute meeting with Angola,s
Minister of Transport Augusto da Silva Tomas. The Minister
spoke in great detail and with great enthusiasm (and without
notes) about Angola,s integrated plan to completely
restructure
all aspects of its transportation sector, including aviation,
rail,
roads and ports. Noting his own background as former
Minister of Finance and former Minister of Trade, Tomas
emphasized that Angola views transport as a strategic sector
that can put a full stop to other economic activities or
propel
them forward. Angola sees the necessity of increasing
mobility
and wants to move forward rapidly. He sought cooperation
with the USG and U.S. firms in all these areas while
confidently
making the case for a unified Angolan government intent on
wholesale restructuring of transportation systems so that
Angola can take advantage of its geographic location to
become a center for providing transportation services
throughout West Africa. Secretary LaHood responded that
DOT has expertise in all the areas that Tomas described and
is fully prepared to explore cooperating with Angola on
planes,
trains and automobiles.

Civil Aviation
------------------
2. (SBU) Turning to the specific civil aviation sector, Tomas
said Angola is updating 30 airports, building three new
international airports and renovating a fourth one. He
emphasized that all of the programs Angola is undertaking in
the civair sector are aimed at renovating all aspects,
including
the legal basis, so that Angolan specialized aviation
agencies
will be brought into line with the standards of the
International
Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). He said Angola,s
INAVIC (civil aviation authority) and other agencies have
benefited from cooperation with U.S. and European firms and
authorities. He said Angolan aviation law is based on the
U.S.
model, which is very advanced for Angola. He said Angola,s
goal is to reach international standards on safety and
security,
with the immediate interest being to have Delta Air Lines
start
its service to Luanda.

3. (SBU) Tomas proudly explained that TAAG is the only
African carrier that, having been placed on the EU
"blacklist,"
has been able to have itself subsequently taken off the list,
and
that he hopes that by February 2010, TAAG will be able to
expand its European points beyond Lisbon. (Note: TAAG
technically remains on the EU blacklist as it can only serve
Lisbon on the conditions that the route is operated only by
TAAG,s new Boeing 777s and that each flight is inspected by
the EU for compliance with safety procedures. End Note.)

4. (SBU) Angola, Tomas said, is in negotiations with Boeing
to buy two new 777s so that it can expand service east
towards Dubai and China and west to Brazil. He said Angola
would like to continue and expand its relationship with U.S.
EXIM bank to help finance this purchase and others for
primary and secondary radar systems that have a 600
kilometer range. He said in the civil aviation sector Angola
is
seeking modern equipment to provide for safe and secure
operations during the day and at night.


STATE 00120241 002 OF 003


Rail
-----
5. (SBU) Tomas reported that Angola is renovating/improving
three of its major national rail lines. He noted that the
Bengela
line improvements will allow copper from Zambia to flow
through Angola directly to one of its ports. He said this
route
would be about 1,000 kilometers and help Zambia avoid the
4,000 to 5,000 kilometer journey that copper exports now
take. The Democratic Republic of the Congo would also
benefit from such a route, he said.

Ports
-------
6. (SBU) Noting the importance of an integrated approach to
the transport sector, Tomas said port restructuring is
essential
to the success of rail line renovation. Angola is reforming
the
ports at Lubitan and Mib, he said, while building a new
deep-water port at Kabuna.

Roads
--------
7. (SBU) Angola has purchased 3,640 new buses and put
them into service in municipalities and for inter-city
routes. In
addition, Angola has started delivering new taxis to the four
cities that will be hosting the Africa Cup of Nations soccer
tournament in January 2010.

Attitude Change
---------------------
8. (SBU) Tomas emphasized the changes that Angola has
brought about since the end of the civil war. He said Angola
recognizes its shortcomings and is determined to address
them. He cited lack of personnel and technology, along with
financing shortfalls, as the problems to be overcome. He
said Angola has established a new logistical/management
institute as the start of a solution to personnel shortages.
The goal, he said, is to modernize 15 parastatal corporations
so that they deliver quality services in an efficient manner
and
contribute to the national GDP. The institute, he said,
seeks
to produce competent graduates, imbued with ethics and a
sense of responsibility so they can implement the eforms
already underway.

9. (SBU) To solve the technology and financing shortfalls,
Tomas said Angola welcomes foreign investment and
cooperation to work alongside Angola,s own capital
resources. Tomas assured the Secretary that Angola is deeply
committed to integrated transport reform and has undertaken
its efforts only after careful study and appropriate reform
of
the legal and institutional foundations of the transportation
sector.

10. (SBU) Secretary LaHood responded by noting that
Angola has already accomplished a lot in its reform program.
He said he, too, wants to see Delta begin flying to Angola
as
soon as it is safe and secure to do so and understood that
security was a priority for Tomas. He noted that a planned
follow-on discussion between the minister and his delegation
and an interagency panel USG experts (Septel) would focus
on aviation safety and security, but that DOT has expertise
in
all the areas of interest to Angola and is prepared to share
that
expertise. State Department rep highlighted Secretary
Clinton,s recent announcement of a bilateral Strategic
Partnership Dialogue (SPD) with Angola and the planned
signing of an SPD arrangement scheduled for November 19.
Tomas (and Ambassador Pitra Diakite) welcomed the SPD.

Participants
------------
11. (SBU) The Angolan participants in the meeting included
Ambassador Josefina Pitra Diakite; Gaspar Francisco dos
Santos, Director General, INAVIC; and the interpreter
Christina Lobo. The U.S. side included Susan McDermott,

STATE 00120241 003 OF 003


DAS for Aviation and International Affairs; Cornelia (Connie)
Wilson-Hunter, Program Manager, Safe Skies for Africa, DOT;
Steronica Dunston, DOT/OST; Daniel Moore, Director, Office
of Transportation Policy, DOS; and John Alvis, interpreter.
CLINTON

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