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Cablegate: Iata "Agenda for Freedom" Demarche Delivered To

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRB #0098 0361709
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051709Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1175
INFO RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 0078
RUEHMT/AMCONSUL MONTREAL 0002
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS RABAT 000098

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EEB/TRA/AN (SWEIKHART/ROCHE) AND NEA/MAG
STATE PLEASE PASS DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION
DEPT OF COMMERCE FOR ITA - N MASON
MONTREAL FOR ICAO MISSION

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ECON ETRD EFIN MO
SUBJECT: IATA "AGENDA FOR FREEDOM" DEMARCHE DELIVERED TO
MOROCCO

REF: SECSTATE 09 131634

1. (SBU) Embassy delivered reftel demarche by diplomatic
note to Morocco's Foreign Ministry on January 8. EconCouns
followed up in person on February 4 with Director of Air
Transport Hamid Zhar of the Ministry of Equipment and
Transportation, the senior Moroccan official responsible for
aviation policy. In response, Zhar stated that the
Government of Morocco was aware of the Statement of Policy
Pricniples and was in the process of considering whether to
join in endorsing it. However, Zhar sought clarification of
several points:

-- What are the rules under current U.S. law regarding
foreign ownership of U.S. airlines?
-- Does the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement permit any higher
percentage of foreign ownership?
-- What is the next step beyond the signing of the
Declaration? Does the U.S. administration envisage proposing
a new law to allow for increased foreign ownership of U.S.
airlines?
-- Is there a distinction to be drawn between the signing of
the Declaration by the U.S. and its partner countries, and
its subsequent "approval" or "endorsement" by the European
Commission? In other words, he asked, does an "approval"
carry the same weight as a signature?

2. (SBU) COMMENT: While Zhar's demeanor was friendly and
engaging, his questions left some doubt as to whether the
government of Morocco was likely to join in endorsing the
Statement. Zhar added in an aside that Morocco had
significantly liberalized its air transport policy by signing
Open Skies agreements with the U.S., the EU and certian Arab
countries, and was now in a period of reflection and
consolidation. In particular, he noted that the national
carrier Royal Air Maroc was experiencing some difficulty in
competing with low-cost European-based budget carriers for
the charter and tourist markets, which undercut support for
further liberalization of its aviation policy.


*****************************************
Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Moro cco
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KAPLAN

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