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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05SANAA131
2005-03-04 13:02:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Sanaa
Cable title:  

YEMEN CLOSES ITS AIRSPACE FOR TWO DAYS OVER

Tags:   EAIR  KREC  KSEP  MARR  MOPS  PREL  YM  PBTS 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

041302Z Mar 05
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SANAA 000131 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/ARPI AND PM/ISO
HQ USAF/XONP PASS TO DALE CHENEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR KREC KSEP MARR MOPS PREL YM EAIR PBTS
SUBJECT: YEMEN CLOSES ITS AIRSPACE FOR TWO DAYS OVER
DISPUTE CONCERNING OVERFLIGHT/LANDING FEES

REF: A. USDAO SANAA DTG 101453Z OCT 04


B. USDAO SANAA DTG 021226Z FEB 05

C. USDAO SANAA DTG 041302Z MAR 05

D. 05 SECSTATE 27119

E. EMAIL RANK/CHENEY 201802 JAN 06

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SANAA 000131

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/ARPI AND PM/ISO
HQ USAF/XONP PASS TO DALE CHENEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR KREC KSEP MARR MOPS PREL YM EAIR PBTS
SUBJECT: YEMEN CLOSES ITS AIRSPACE FOR TWO DAYS OVER
DISPUTE CONCERNING OVERFLIGHT/LANDING FEES

REF: A. USDAO SANAA DTG 101453Z OCT 04


B. USDAO SANAA DTG 021226Z FEB 05

C. USDAO SANAA DTG 041302Z MAR 05

D. 05 SECSTATE 27119

E. EMAIL RANK/CHENEY 201802 JAN 06


1. THIS IS AN ACTION MESSAGE, PLEASE SEE PARAGRAPH 8.


2. Summary: The Yemeni Civil Aviation and Meteorology
Authority (CAMA) denied U.S. military aircraft clearances on
January 21 and 22, due to a dispute simmering for at least
eight years regarding overflight and landing fees. After a
meeting with DCM, the CAMA Chairman verbally agreed not to
deny aircraft clearances during ongoing discussion over the
fees. Post recommends quick disbursement of fees, to which
the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) has already agreed, as
well as guidance regarding the USG position on Yemen,s
insistence on payment for overflights. End Summary.

--------------
Over-Flight Clearances Denied for Two Days
--------------


3. CAMA denied U.S. military aircraft clearances on January
21 and 22 over a dispute with the USG concerning the payment
of overflight and landing fees. On January 22, DCM and DATT
met with the chairman of CAMA as well as MFA officials to
discuss the situation. Emboffs expressed their concern that
by denying U.S. military aircraft clearances, CAMA was
negatively affecting U.S.-Yemeni bilateral relations as well
as hampering U.S. efforts in the global war on terrorism.
CAMA denied this accusation, indicating that this is strictly
a "business matter." The MFA official stated he agreed with
CAMA on this point. Emboffs noted that the USG is seeking to
resolve this dispute amicably and that denying aircraft
clearances is an inappropriate action between friendly

countries, and requested that CAMA de-link discussions over
the fees and the issuance of clearances. The chairman of CAMA
agreed to this request.

--------------
Landing Fees and the Establishment of CAMA
--------------


4. Emboffs reiterated that the USG will only pay landing fees
dating from 2000, the date from which the IAWG considers
Sanaa and Aden International Airports to be
civilian/commercial facilities (refs D and E). While
welcoming the prospect of this payment, CAMA reiterated its
position that it is entitled to landing fees from 1990,
noting that Aden and Sanaa International Airports have always
been civil and non-governmental vice military or government
entities. Emboffs requested documentation to substantiate
this claim.


5. Subsequently, CAMA provided Republican Amendment number
26, dated 1979, that amends Law number 43 of 1976 entitled,
&The Establishment of Civil Aviation and Meteorology
Authority." The law lays out the legal duties and
responsibilities of CAMA, which, among other things, requires
it to operate and administer Yemen,s civilian airports,
including Sanaa International. The law also notes that CAMA
superceded the former Civil Aviation Department. CAMA
officials noted that this former entity was governmental and
fell under the Ministry of Transportation (MOT). However, per
the above cited amendment, CAMA is a separate entity from the
MOT with an independent budget. The law does not specifically
state that it is a commercial and or non-governmental entity.
CAMA officials forcefully stated that it is and has been
non-governmental from its establishment 1976. (NOTE: Based
on the information provided, post assesses that CAMA,s claim
is likely credible. END NOTE) CAMA also provided decree
number 444 of 2000 regarding the establishment of CAMA that
largely reiterates CAMA,s legal duties and responsibilities,
but also states that CAMA,s budget is largely derived from
the various fees and service it provides. (Post will forward
translations of the 1979 and 2000 laws.)
--------------
Friends Shouldn,t Make Friends Pay for Air
--------------


6. Emboffs reiterated the position that the USG does not pay
overflight fees to coalition countries. CAMA officials
stated that, based on the 1944 Chicago Convention, Yemen is
entitled to overflight fees. CAMA highlighted the services it
provides to transiting aircraft, including air navigation
assistance, meteorological reports, as well as
search-and-rescue services. CAMA noted that all other
countries transiting Yemeni airspace, including France, pay.
(NOTE: Post confirmed with the French Embassy that they do
pay overflight fees. END NOTE) In previous meetings, CAMA
officials also claimed that the USG pays overflight fees to
Djibouti. Embassy officials stated they would re-state
Yemen,s position to the IAWG, and advised that if Yemen
insists on this position, the matter would have to be taken
up with President Saleh. The current overflight fees
requested by Yemen total USD 2,319,344.

--------------
Comment
--------------


7. Payment of landing and overflight fees has been a
lingering point of contention between Embassy and CAMA for a
number of years. Currently, there are in excess of 100 U.S.
military overflights of Yemen each month. These flights are
in direct support of CENTCOM and the War on Terror. If CAMA
were to require U.S. military aircraft to fly around Yemen,
as it did for six flights this past week, the cost of
additional fuel and maintenance alone for a one-month period
would likely exceed the total amount requested by the ROYG.
An extended denial of aircraft clearance could pose a serious
hindrance to CENTCOM,s ability to conduct operations in its
area of responsibility.

--------------
Action requested
--------------


8. Post recommends that the IAWG authorize immediate
payment of USD 201,789 to CAMA for landing fees based on the
IAWG,s assessment (refs D and E) that Aden and Sanaa
International airports have been commercial entities at least
since 2000. We also request that IAWG quickly assess the
viability of CAMA,s claim that it operated Sanaa
International Airport as a non-governmental entity from at
least 1979. Post is inclined to agree with CAMA,s claim. If
IAWG concurs, post requests disbursement of an additional USD
178,507 for landing fee services from 1990-1999. Finally, as
it seems likely CAMA and the ROYG will continue to insist
that they have the right to charge for the use of Yemeni
airspace, post requests the IAWG's formal guidance on the
issue, which post will deliver to President Saleh.
Krajeski