07MOSCOW327, AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH RUSSIAN TRANSPORT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW327 2007-01-26 07:12 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO9071
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #0327/01 0260712
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 260712Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6872
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000327 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS WARLICK AND HOLMAN 
DEPT FOR EB/TRA FOR BYERLY AND COLEMAN 
USDOT FOR CINO AND SHANE 
DHS FOR STEIN AND MCCREERY 
FAA FOR API/SHARP 
BRUSSELS FOR TSA RODGERS 
DOC FOR 4231/IEP/EUR/JBROUGHER 
NSC FOR GRAHAM AND MCKIBBEN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON EAIR PREL RS
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH RUSSIAN TRANSPORT 
MINISTER LEVITIN 
 
1. (SBU) Summary. In a January 24 meeting with the 
Ambassador, Minister of Transportation Igor Levitin pressed 
for resolution of the state flights issue and urged the next 
round of bilateral civil aviation negotiations be held in 
Moscow.  He suggested that armed marshals on U.S. flights to 
Russia might be possible under the auspices of an 
intergovernmental agreement.  He raised concerns about delays 
in code-sharing between Sky Team members and Aeroflot and 
problems faced by Aeroflot passengers transiting New York. 
The Ministry is also ready to sign a rail equipment testing 
agreement with the U.S.  On passenger name recognition, a 
formal agreement may be in order once amendments addressing 
the legal gaps in the current arrangements pass the 
legislature.  Levitin urged Transportation Secretary Peters 
to join him at the May European Ministerial on Transportation 
Security in Europe, and reiterated his invitation to 
Secretary Peters and TSA Administrator Hawley to come to 
 
SIPDIS 
Moscow immediately before the Ministerial for the proposed 
DOT conference on ground transport.  End Summary. 
 
STATE FLIGHTS 
 
2. (SBU) Levitin was well-versed in the details of the state 
flights issue and was clear about his desire to see this 
long-standing bilateral problem resolved.  He complained that 
the U.S. owes Russia navigation fees for more than 2000 
flights.  He welcomed next week's planned bilateral 
consultations and said he hoped an agreement could be reached 
soon. 
 
CIVIL AVIATION NEGOTIATIONS 
 
3. (SBU) Responding to a Russian request for bilateral civair 
negotiations at the end of February in Moscow, the Ambassador 
offered instead negotiations the week of March 26 in 
Washington. Gennady Loschonov, chief civair negotiator for 
the Russian side, replied that the last two rounds had been 
in Washington.  He and the Minister noted that the GOR would 
prefer talks in Moscow, which the Ambassador agreed to relay. 
 
PASSENGER NAME RECOGNITION (PNR) 
 
4. (SBU) The Ambassador expressed appreciation for the 
Minister's efforts to move PNR-related legislation through 
the Duma.  Levitin said that assuming his Ministry's proposed 
amendments to the Russian Air Traffic Code become law, the 
U.S. and Russia should pursue an official agreement to share 
passenger data to take the place of the ad hoc arrangements 
currently in force. 
 
FLIGHT MARSHALS (FAMS) 
 
5. (SBU) Levitin said that, like ICAO, the GOR believes armed 
marshals on planes more of a security liability than an asset 
and noted it is against Russian law for foreigners to carry 
arms on airplanes.  However, if the United States chooses to 
press the issue, we could pursue a bilateral agreement on 
flight marshals (such as Russia's with Israel) that would 
permit U.S. flight marshals to be on board U.S. carrier 
flights.  He cautioned, however, that the Russian 
inter-agency process preceding such a negotiation (which 
would include the Ministries of Interior, Customs, and Border 
Security) would likely be lengthy.  He ruled out an exchange 
of diplomatic notes or a Ministry-to-Department agreement on 
FAMS, citing complications with the Russian inter-agency 
process. 
 
AEROFLOT-RELATED ISSUES 
 
6. (SBU) Levitin expressed concern about delays in obtaining 
code share approvals between Sky Team members and Aeroflot, 
especially since Aeroflot already has such code shares with 
airlines.  He questioned whether there was unfair competition 
at play and urged resolution.  Levitin claimed Aeroflot was 
being further disadvantaged since its Moscow-Washington-bound 
passengers must first disembark in New York -- a process that 
 
MOSCOW 00000327  002 OF 002 
 
 
added nearly four hours.  The Ambassador noted that the 
Department of Homeland Security is looking into the 
possibility of "progressive clearance" for this Aeroflot 
flight. 
 
RAIL EQUIPMENT AGREEMENT 
WITH US TESTING CENTER 
 
7. (SBU) Levitin said that MOT was ready to sign an agreement 
with the American Association of Railroads (AAR) Testing 
Center in Pueblo, Colorado for testing of certain-types of 
railroad equipment in the United States.  MOT will issue an 
invitation to AAR to come to Moscow at the end of February. 
(Note: This agreement comes in response to a $300,000  TDA 
grant approved for Russia in Fall 2005.) 
 
SECURITY FORUM AT EUROPEAN CONFERENCE 
OF MINISTERS OF TRANSPORT

 
8. (SBU) The Minister stressed his support for a 
ministerial-level, international forum on transportation 
security. He noted that last year in Tokyo, Ministers had 
designated the annual European Conference of Ministers of 
Transport (ECMT), scheduled for May 31, as the venue for the 
forum.  He urged Secretary Peters to accept his invitation to 
participate. 
 
DOT MOSCOW CONFERENCE ON GROUND TRANSPORT 
 
9. (U) Levitin reiterated his Ministry's support for the 
DOT-proposed conference on ground transport in Moscow in May. 
 This is envisioned as a high profile event with a 
transportation security component.  Levitin urged Secretary 
Peters and TSA Administrator Hawley to accept his invitation 
to participate.  He suggested the conference be held May 
28-29, immediately before the Sofia ECMT meeting so that 
Peters and Hawley could participate in both. 
 
COMMENT 
 
10. (SBU) Levitin came back from his trip to the States (the 
first ever for a Russian Minister of Transportation) clearly 
buoyed by the experience and motivated to deepen bilateral 
ties.  He noted his good friendship with former Secretary 
Mineta, a tradition he wants to continue with Secretary 
Peters and Administrator Hawley.  The fall 2006 visit to 
Moscow by Deputy Secretary Cino and Levitin's reciprocal 
visit to Washington has created some useful momentum on the 
bilateral transportation front, and could help to unlock a 
number of difficult issues on the agenda, including state 
flights and FAMs, as well as lock in mutually beneficial 
gains during this spring's civair talks.  Post appreciates 
Washington's continued efforts to provide prompt responses to 
outstanding Russian questions. 
BURNS

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