Cablegate: Country Clearance Granted for Noaa Fisheries Employees


DE RUEHLM #0412/01 0730328
R 140328Z MAR 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: USDOC 02248

1. Post grants country clearance to NOAA fisheries employees,
Lawrence Biondo and Rodney Platt to travel to Colombo, Sri Lanka,
March 24-28, 2007. The purpose of the visit is to conduct audits
for the USDOC Seafood Inspection Program. Embassy control officer is
Mr. Richard Merrin, Commercial Attache and Economic Officer,
telephone no. (94-11) 249 8770, fax (94-11) 249 8820, email

2. Post understands that no additional logistical
arrangements are required.

3. As far in advance of the visit as possible, visitors must provide
specific details to the control officer of all support requirements
they will need while at post. Support
requirements include procurement requests, motor pool usage,
shipping assistance, and any and all other service
requirements that will be needed upon arrival or during the

4. Political and security developments emerge quickly and
frequently in Sri Lanka and the embassy is monitoring these
developments. The current unrest and spate of violent
incidents in the northern and eastern part of the island has
heightened tensions island-wide. A Ceasefire Agreement signed
between the Government of Sri Lanka and the insurgent Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2002 has been marred by increasing
violence, which has recently included attacks involving civilians in
the north and east of the country. While foreigners have not in the
past been targeted in the violence, it is still uncertain whether an
August 14, 2006 bomb which hit the security detail of the Pakistani
High Commissioner?s convoy was targeted at the High Commissioner or
exclusively at GSL security forces. Once you arrive in Sri Lanka,
please make sure you register with the Consular Office so the
Embassy can communicate any changes in the situation. As always, we
urge you to be cautious and aware of your surroundings.

5. TDY visitors to Sri Lanka who are coming for official
business purposes must have a visa to enter Sri Lanka, whether they
are traveling on diplomatic, official or tourist passports. Post
will be able to assist in arranging airport visas only for those
passengers who are arriving from a country in which there is no Sri
Lanka Embassy. If there is a Sri Lanka embassy in your country of
residence, please arrange for a visa through that Embassy. All
travelers must send to Letitia DeSilva (DeSilvaL@State.Gov) and the
control officer (Richard Merrin (, the following
information: Full Name, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Passport
Number, Place of Issue, Date of Issue, Expiration Date, length of
stay in Sri Lanka and country from which you will be applying for
the visa. The Embassy will send a diplomatic note to the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs and the MFA will instruct the Sri Lanka Embassy
to issue the visa. This
process may take up to two weeks.

6. Travel by Official Americans to the North and East of Sri Lanka
has been restricted until further notice. Any travel to these areas
requires prior approval by the Ambassador (or the Charge in his

7. Travelers should exercise caution when working in and near
Government facilities and avoid large gatherings due to the threat
of a potential terrorist incident. Petty crime is common in Colombo
and travelers should avoid using public transportation other than
radio or hotel taxis. Travelers should keep money or jewelry, when
not in immediate use, in hotel safe deposit boxes. Recent cases of
credit card fraud have been reported. Travelers are encouraged to
either pay with cash or to watch when a merchant swipes the card for
a transaction to ensure it is not swiped more than once.

8. All TDY personnel must check in with the Regional Security
Officer on their first working day in Colombo to receive a security
briefing and an update regarding the terrorist threat. Please
coordinate with your control officer to schedule this briefing.
Visitors requiring access to classified information while visiting
post MUST forward their security clearance via cable to the RSO.
Again, for emergency contact purposes, all official visitors are
required to register, in person, at the Embassy's Consular Section,
on their first working day or as soon thereafter as practicable.

9. Travelers whose security orientation training is not
current are strongly urged to participate in one of the NFATC
security overseas seminars for TDY personnel before travel

10. An Embarkation Tax of SLR 1,500 is required. This tax is
normally included in the airline ticket charges and travelers should
verify the tax has been included.

11. Visitors to the Embassy wishing to access their OpenNet e-mail

from their home post should inform their control officer before
departure. If access to e-mail is necessary, visitors should have
their control officer provide the Colombo ISC office with the
following information at least five working days in advance of their
arrival at post: -- visitor's first name, middle initial and last
name, arrival date at post, departure date at post, visitor's home
OpenNet Exchange Server Name, the Exchange IP Address and the Domain
Name. The contact
e-mail address for Colombo ISC office is: ColomboISCHelpDesk (SMTP: Colombo's ISC office will create the
guest account and set it up for email access. When the visitor
arrives at post, they will need to check in with the Colombo ISC
office (Room 134) to sign for a User ID and Password. The Colombo
ISC office staff will review with the visitor the steps for
accessing their home e-mail.

12. The Embassy Health Unit suggests that all TDY employees in Sri
Lanka for more than 14 days schedule a briefing with the Foreign
Service Health Practitioner (FSHP). Also, your
control officer can arrange for an electronic version of the Colombo
Health Booklet to be sent to you via email. Please be advised that
while in Sri Lanka, you cannot use your American health insurance
for health care received from local providers, laboratories, and
hospitals. You can obtain receipts for care received in country to
submit to your health insurance plan for reimbursement. Some
facilities will accept credit card payment, but most require cash.
Arrangements for deferring payment for emergency care are possible
if arranged through the Health Unit, but you must clear all bills
for health services received outside of the Health Unit prior to
leaving Sri Lanka.



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