Viewing cable 06MUSCAT853
Title: OMAN SEEKS ASSISTANCE IN PREPARING FOR HIGH-PROFILE SHIP

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06MUSCAT8532006-05-31 10:23:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 000853 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR S/CPR, PA/IGA (AWELCHER AND NTHOMPSON) 
STATE ALSO FOR NEA/ARP AND NEA/PD 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL OVIP SCUL KPAO OEXC MU
SUBJECT: OMAN SEEKS ASSISTANCE IN PREPARING FOR HIGH-PROFILE SHIP 
VISIT 
 
¶1.  This is an action request; please see paragraph 6. 
 
¶2.  SUMMARY:  Building on the success of Oman's participation in 
the 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Sultanate plans to 
raise its profile in the U.S. by sending a tall ship to at least 
three East Coast ports in July 2007.  The visit will be the 
springboard for a larger program of special events, media 
products, and, if all goes well, substantial publicity 
highlighting the U.S.-Oman bilateral relationship and the many 
historical, cultural, and economic achievements that set Oman 
apart in its region.  To move the project forward, a delegation 
led by the Muscat Municipality President (equivalent of mayor) 
will visit the U.S. in late June/early July.  Post requests the 
support of the Department and other entities to assure the 
visit's success.  END SUMMARY. 
 
¶3.  The Ambassador met May 27 with officials organizing the July 
2007 U.S. visit of the "Shabab Oman" ("Youth of Oman"), a 52- 
meter barquentine, Oman's "maritime ambassador" and the Arab 
world's only tall ship.  The organizing committee, led by 
President of the Muscat Municipality Abdallah bin Abbas bin 
Ahmad, includes representatives of the Diwan (royal court), the 
Royal Navy of Oman (RNO), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and 
other relevant bodies.  The committee has been charged by the 
Sultan to create an ambitious, large-scale, "unique" event that 
will reflect the depth and strength of U.S.-Oman ties and promote 
Oman as a stable, prosperous center of culture and tradition.  It 
is also meant to raise awareness of the reinvigorated Sultan 
Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC) at Washington's Middle East 
Institute.  The "Shabab Oman," in service since 1971, has twice 
visited the U.S., in 1986 (Statue of Liberty centennial 
celebration) and 1992 (Columbus quincentennial). 
 
¶4.  In the U.S., Oman's embassy and SQCC have done preliminary 
planning for the project, including identifying as potential 
destinations New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.  Plans 
for surrounding activities are still embryonic, but include a 
traveling Omani Cultural Village visitor attraction, associated 
public programs, and products including a book, a documentary 
film, and a range of handouts.  Organizers indicate that they are 
in the last stages of hiring a U.S. events organizer that will 
handle much of the project's production and coordination.  In 
Muscat, the Ambassador will convene a group of prominent 
residents, American and Omani, to provide advice to the Omani 
organizers better target the event, and help them obtain maximum 
media exposure. 
 
¶5.  Muscat Municipality President Abdullah Abbas laid out plans 
for a planning visit to the U.S. (led by him, with the remaining 
members of the delegation still to be determined) from June 30 
through July 11; however, he indicated that there is some 
flexibility in the timing.  The visit will move the project 
forward by giving official imprimatur to the plans now in place 
and by ensuring Omani familiarity and comfort with the potential 
venues and U.S. partners.  During its time in the U.S., the 
delegation seeks to meet with appropriate offices at the 
Departments of State and Homeland Security; the Coast Guard; 
mayors' offices (and if at all possible with each of the mayors) 
in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, as well as, possibly, 
appropriate ranking municipal authorities in Alexandria, 
Virginia; municipal organizations that handle international 
events such as this in each city (convention and visitors bureaus 
or similar); and each city's port authority.  It may also be 
beneficial for the group to witness July Fourth celebrations in 
one or more of the cities as time allows. 
 
¶6.  ACTION REQUEST:  Post seeks addressees' cooperation in 
ensuring the success of this delegation's visit, including 
coordinating with all appropriate federal agencies and mayoral 
offices, and offering all possible assistance when contacted by 
the Embassy of Oman and/or the Sultan Qaboos Center.  Washington 
is asked to advise on the timing of Municipality President 
Abbas's visit to the U.S. in early July.  Embassy Muscat's point 
of contact for the project is Public Affairs Officer Robert H. 
Arbuckle (office: 968-24-698-989,x433, e-mail 
arbucklerh@state.gov).  SQCC's Executive Director is Heidi S. 
Shoup (office: 202-785-1141, x232; e-mail: director@sqcc.org). 
END ACTION REQUEST. 
 
GRAPPO