This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. C O N F I D E N T I A L PRETORIA 000807
DEPT FOR AF/EPS AND AF/S/TCRAIG AND KGAITHER
DEPT ALSO FOR EB/TRA/AN/CDEMARS, LFAUX-GABLE, ESMITH
TRANSPORTATION FOR SMCDERMOTT, KBHATIA, GRETCH
COMMERCE FOR 4510/ITA/IEP/ANESA/OA/JDIEMOND
TREASURY FOR GCHRISTOPULOS, LSTURM, AND AJEWEL
DEPT PASS USTR FOR PCOLEMAN, WJACKSON AND CHAMILTON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/23/2015
SUBJECT: SAG OFFICIAL COMMENTS ON JANUARY OPEN SKIES TALKS
REF: A. LFAUX-GABLE EMAILS
B. 04 PRETORIA 5259
C. 04 PRETORIA 5072
Classified By: (U) Classified by MC Jeff Hartley for reasons 1.4 (b,d).
1. (C) SUMMARY. Department of Transport Director for
Aviation Regulation Godfrey Selepe described January Open
Skies talks in Washington D.C. as "positive" and
"encouraging." Selepe still plans to resume talks during a
July visit to the United States. He supports an open
dialogue throughout the process in order to develop a
relationship between the South African and U.S. teams. He
said that Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe is "almost
convinced" that an Open Skies agreement with the United
States is in South Africa's best interest, but argued that it
should be a "full Open Skies" agreement without restrictions.
2. (SBU) Department of Transport Director for Aviation
Regulation Godfrey Selepe met with Econoff February 15 to
discuss Open Skies talks that were held January 27 in
Washington D.C. Selepe described the talks as "positive." He
said that while he remains open-minded about Open Skies,
President Mbeki's policy is one of managed liberalization for
South Africa. In this context, he said he was encouraged by
comments from U.S. officials on potentially phasing in
certain aspects of Open Skies. He said this portends greater
flexibility in coming to an Open Skies agreement than was the
case in 2001. At that time, Selepe said that U.S.
negotiators were not allowed to deviate from the prescribed
implementation of the U.S. model text on Open Skies.
(COMMENT: A phased approach of certain Open Skies aspects may
help sell Selepe more fully on an Open Skies agreement with
the United States. U.S. negotiators could represent and
leverage potential transitions as an accommodation of Mbeki's
managed liberalization policy. END COMMENT)
3. (SBU) Selepe said that a busy 2005 schedule prevents him
from traveling to the United States sooner than July. At
that time he will visit both the United States and Canada
with officials from the Department of Environment and
Tourism, SATourism, and interested airlines (Reftel C).
Selepe agreed that it would be productive to maintain a
dialogue with U.S. officials throughout the negotiation
process. He said that due to his long-standing relationship
with U.K. negotiators he is comfortable being frank whenever
misunderstandings arise. He would like to develop a similar
relationship with U.S. officials. Selepe does not describe
himself as an "old-school negotiator," revealing his position
or objectives little by little. Instead, he said he prefers
to be open and transparent from the outset. Consequently, he
sees no reason why an Open Skies agreement could not be
negotiated and concluded in one day with prior agreement on
4. (C) Selepe said that Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe is
"almost convinced" that an Open Skies agreement with the
United States is in South Africa's best interest. Selepe
said it was apparent that Radebe felt this way in the weeks
leading up to his January visit to the United States. As a
result, Selepe said that he is approaching Open Skies talks
with the United States as though it is likely to become a
reality. However, he argued that if South Africa is going to
do Open Skies with the United States then it should be "full
Open Skies," referring to restrictions imposed on full
cabotage and via the Fly America Act.
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