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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06MUSCAT782 2006-05-16 11:33:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Muscat
Cable title:  

EMBASSY MUSCAT NOMINATION FOR LABOR DIPLOMACY AWARD

Tags:   AMGT APER ELAB MU 
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VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMS #0782/01 1361133
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161133Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6531
					  UNCLAS MUSCAT 000782 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR DRL/IL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT APER ELAB MU
SUBJECT: EMBASSY MUSCAT NOMINATION FOR LABOR DIPLOMACY AWARD

REF: A. SECSTATE 61595


B. SECSTATE 67526

C. MUSCAT 588

D. 05 MUSCAT 766

E. 05 MUSCAT 209



1. U.S. Embassy Muscat is pleased to nominate Pol/LaborOff
Cynthia L. Plath for the 2006 Labor Diplomacy Officer of the
Year Award in recognition of her outstanding support of USG
labor and human rights policies in Oman. Her dedication,
initiative and responsive reporting were invaluable to the
successful negotiation of the US-Oman Free Trade Agreement
(FTA) and have built a solid foundation for future
cooperation with Oman's growing labor union movement.



--------------------------


US-Oman Free Trade Agreement


--------------------------





2. Ms. Plath's insightful, analytical and proactive
reporting of labor trends and developments have been integral
to the U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) successful
negotiation of the FTA and in implementing the President's
vision of the Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA). Her
prolific reporting has been instrumental in the Department of
Labor's (DOL) ability to draft relevant and needs-based
proposals for technical assistance, and the Embassy's ability
to respond to ongoing Congressional requests for labor
information (reftel D). Assistant United States Trade
Representative (A/USTR) for Labor Lewis Karesh was so pleased
with Ms. Plath's work throughout the laborious FTA
negotiations that, in a letter to the U.S. Ambassador to
Oman, he said, "Cynthia has been a tremendous resource on
Omani labor law, providing information to respond to
Congressional inquiries and support ratification of the FTA."



3. Her extensive reporting and detailed policy work with the
Under Secretary of the Ministry of Manpower was likewise
recognized by the Department of Labor (reftel B) in a glowing
assessment. "Ms. Plath has provided a steady and needed
stream of information and data about Omani labor law,
conditions, and procedures necessary for the completion of
the Department of labor-authored "Meaningful Labor Rights
Report" mandated by Congress. Cynthia has responded very
promptly and in detail to our numerous requests for
information.... She's made a diligent effort to track down
data and clarify ambiguities in our understanding of Omani
labor laws and practice. The Department of Labor is
extremely grateful for her excellent contributions."



--------------------------


MEPI Regional Labor Dialogue


--------------------------





4. One of the Embassy's most significant achievements of
2005 was the hugely successful Middle East Partnership
Initiative (MEPI) Regional Labor Dialogue. In direct support
of Embassy Muscat's Mission Performance Plan and advancement
of U.S. foreign policy, the Dialogue focused attention on the
role of labor in a democracy and raised awareness of the
importance of meeting international labor standards.



5. In preparing for this unprecedented conference in Oman,
Ms. Plath worked tirelessly with a number of agencies to
organize and develop agendas and guest lists, manage travel
logistics for 200 guests and nine ministers of labor,
negotiate hotel savings of over $10,000, arrange policy
meetings with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) labor ministers,
attend strategy planning sessions with the International
Labor Organization (ILO), and facilitate private sector
meetings with some of Oman's most influential businessmen and
labor committee representatives. She skillfully managed the
competing interests and simultaneous visits of multiple
government agencies while working around the clock managing
an intra-agency team responsible for organizing
presentations, assembling over 200 binders, greeting
participants, setting up multiple conference facilities,
facilitating over 8,000 pages of photocopying, and working
with hotel staff around the clock to manage often overlooked
details such as table placement, audio-visual services,
catering and rooms.



--------------------------


Innovative Problem Solver


--------------------------





6. Ms. Plath has been stalwart in promoting U.S. labor
policy and has significantly enhanced USG understanding of
Omani labor practices through numerous initiatives, including
hosting regular lunches and meetings with labor contacts,
committee members, and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) officials,
as well as by hosting roundtable discussions with the private
sector and performing outreach to new unions. Ms. Plath
regularly nominates candidates to participate in
State-sponsored events, as well as regional events hosted by
NGOs such the Solidarity Center. She has nominated six
candidates for the International Visitor Program and was
successful in convincing the MOM to accept a U.S. Fulbright
scholar to assist in policy research and implementation of
recent ILO reform commitments.



--------------------------


"Honorary" Union Member


--------------------------





7. It was through Ms. Plath's persistent outreach and
initiative that Embassy Muscat has developed the most
extensive and accessible contacts in the labor movement in
Oman. Her patient and sustained cultivation of contacts at
the MOM has resulted in unparalleled access to MOM
proceedings, plans, and staff, most notable of which has
included her regular meetings with the Under Secretary for
Labor. This relationship has been invaluable in promoting
international labor standards required to pass the FTA and in
obtaining specific documents and unpublished material, such
as draft Occupational Safety and Health Regulations. More
importantly, her relationship with MOM officials has made it
easier to cut through bureaucratic obstacles and facilitate
quick and easy access for policy discussion, including for
high-level visitors such a Deputy Under Secretary of Labor
and two Assistant U.S. Trade Representatives.



8. Ms. Plath spends a considerable amount of time developing
contacts and meeting with union representatives throughout
Oman. These confidences have resulted in specific and
responsive reporting to the MEPI office (NEA/PI), the
Department of Labor and USTR, and exchanges with the ILO on
the latest labor developments (reftel C). Her dedicated
support of the growing union movement in Oman has been
instrumental in securing long-awaited technical assistance,
including a recent MEPI small grant submission to provide
voter outreach and education for upcoming union elections.
Moreover, her regular outreach to labor attaches from
third-country embassies helps keep the Embassy abreast of
developments within the expatriate labor force and has
resulted in more comprehensive human rights, labor, and
trafficking in person reporting (reftel E).



9. This Embassy joins the Department of Labor, USTR, and the
State Department in our pride over Ms. Plath's
accomplishments, which we feel amply merits her selection as
Labor Diplomacy Officer of the Year. This nomination has
been enthusiastically endorsed by the Embassy's Awards
Committee and approved by the Ambassador.
GRAPPO