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Cablegate: Country Clearance Granted for Eap Advisor Balbina Hwang And

VZCZCXRO1081
RR RUEHVK
DE RUEHMO #1209/01 0801052
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211052Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8435
INFO RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 1995
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 0768

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001209

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PREL PHUM OTRA ASEC RS
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE GRANTED FOR EAP ADVISOR BALBINA HWANG AND
PRM PROGRAM OFFICER MELISSA PIOTTI TRAVEL TO VLADIVOSTOK APRIL 6-9

REF: STATE 33981
STATE 31187

1. Embassy welcomes and grants country clearance to EAP Senior
Advisor Balbina Hwang and PRM/ANE Program Officer Melissa Pitotti to
visit Vladivostok April 6 through April 9, 2007. The primary purpose
of this trip is to further USG efforts to implement North Korean
refugee-related aspects of the North Korean Human Rights Act of
2004. Airport meet and assist has been arranged. Lodging, within
per diem, at the rate of $180 per evening and has arranged. The
travel itinerary has been received: arriving Vladivostok Friday,
April 6, via Korean Air Flight 981 at 3:50 pm, departing Vladivostok
April 9, via Korean Air Flight 982 at 4:20 pm. Post requests
updates to changes in traveler's itinerary if applicable.

2. Control officer is Daniel Kronenfeld; Work:7(4232)30-00-70 ext:
4601 Cell:7(4232)70-37-14 Email: KroenfeldDA1@state.gov.

3. Security clearance: Confirmation of TDYer's security clearance
has been received.

4. Visa requirements: All visitors must have a valid entry/exit
visa for Russia and may not enter Russia before (or depart Russia
after) the dates shown in the visa. Please note that the dates on
Russian visas are listed in day/month/year format. Please allow
thirty (30) working days for Russian visa processing. Visa
extensions and other amendments requested after arrival normally
take ten (10) to fifteen (15) working days to process. To minimize
the number of emergency requests for extensions and other amendments
after your arrival, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggests
that initial visa applications include a five-day cushion on each
side of your planned travel dates. For instance, if you plan to
arrive June 5 and depart June 25, you should request a visa that is
valid for the entire month of June. Please carefully check the
dates of the visa before entering the country; travelers arriving
before or after the validity dates on their visas will be detained
at the airport and may be deported to their original embarkation
points.

5. Passport/visa registration/migration cards: All visitors who
remain in Russia for more than three business days must register
their passports and visas with the Russian government. The
registration authority is given to hotels. Visitors not staying at
hotels should register their passports/visas through the Embassy
Human Resources office; this process takes approximately two
business days.

6. Migration Card for all travelers: Russian authorities have
implemented a migration (entry/exit) card system at all border
crossings. This is in addition to the visa regime. All visitors to
Russia must complete a migration card, which is handed out upon
arrival in Russia - either on airplanes or at border crossings.
Upon receipt of visa from Russian Embassy, confirm that arrival date
and departure date fit with itinerary. NO airport visas are issued
at the port of entry.

7. TDY travelers must complete the migration card. There are five
steps to this process - Obtain a migration card upon entry to
Russia, complete the card, ensure the card is stamped by border
officials upon entry, register the card at their hotel, and most
importantly, keep the card with their passport. If TDY travelers are
stopped by police or militia, they must produce a passport, valid
visa and stamped migration card. Upon departure from Russia, TDY
travelers will be asked to relinquish this migration card to border
police. If the card is lost, travelers must arrange to replace the
card, before departure, or risk being barred entry to Russia on
future trips.

8. Customs: Russian customs procedures include entry and exit
declaration forms. The new law on currency regulation and control
allow foreigners to export up to USD 3,000 without providing a
customs declaration or proof of how the money was obtained.
However, foreigners may also export up to USD 10,000 by simply
filling out a customs declaration upon exit. More than USD 10,000
can be exported upon proof that it was imported into Russia legally
(a stamped customs declaration or proof of a legal bank or wire
transfer). TDY employees and official visitors should abide by these
rules, as they may have only limited diplomatic immunity.

9. Export prohibitions: TDY employees and official visitors should
be aware that art (antiquities, paintings, samovars, icons, etc.)
may not be taken out of Russia without advance written permission
from the Ministry of Culture. Visitors planning to purchase art
objects or antiques while in Russia should first check with the GSO
office on export requirements.

10. Security situation: Recent incidents occurring within Russia
have highlighted the continued risk of terrorist activity. The U.S.
Embassy/ Consulate is not aware of any credible or specific
information that American citizens or U.S. interests in Russia are
targets of this terrorist activity. Nonetheless, the risk of an

MOSCOW 00001209 002 OF 002


American citizen being an unintended victim of these attacks does
exist. The Embassy advises American citizens traveling or living in
Russia that the potential for terrorist actions, including actions
against civilians, is currently high and is likely to remain so for
some time.

11. Crime in Russia remains at a high level and often is directed
against westerners. The types of crime reported range from petty
theft, primarily from hotel rooms and train compartments; street
crime involving pickpockets or bands of street children also is
common. Theft involving the capture of electronic ATM and credit
card data also has risen in recent months.

12. When traveling in and around Vladivostok, please remain
vigilant at all times. Exercise good judgment and the utmost
discretion when using any form of public transportation. If you are
transiting via train, plane or bus, please make sure you provide a
friend or coworker with your travel schedule, so that you can be
accounted for at all times. Avoid large crowds and public
gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. If you are out in
public, we recommend that you carry a cell phone with international
roaming capability, with important telephone numbers to include Duty
Officer cell phone number (7)(4232)(71-00-67).

13. The human and technical intelligence threat in Russia remains a
major concern. All non-USG facilities, including hotels, are
considered compromised and classified material cannot be stored,
discussed or processed in them.

14. Mandatory Security Training for Extended TDY (more than 30
days): Per STATE 066580 dated 25 March 2004, effective January 1,
2005, American personnel requesting country clearance to perform
extended temporary duty at an overseas location must complete
appropriate overseas personal security training prior to their
travel. FSI (the Department of State's Foreign Service Institute)
will conduct the approved minimum four-day training class. A shorter
security refresher course must be taken every five years. The FSI
catalogue of courses can be found online at
http://fsi.state.gov/admin/reg/default.asp. Agencies may choose to
provide their own equivalent security training, if they can certify
in writing to the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security
that they offer training that meets the minimum criteria of the
overseas personal security training provided by FSI and that
training is delivered and evaluated by qualified instructors. For
Agency certification, contact Assistant Director for Training, DS/T,
Mr. William Armor, armorwd@state.gov or by phone 703-205-2617.

15. If the initial request for country clearance does not certify
that mandatory security training has been completed or will be
completed prior to travel, you must send an amended request to
include that information. If time or urgency of mission does not
allow for the completion of this mandatory security training, the
country clearance request should note the circumstances and request
a waiver from the Chief of Mission. Requests for waivers based on
convenience or agency financial considerations will not be approved.


16. Currency exchange: Russia has a predominantly cash economy,
with the Russian ruble as the only legal tender for local
transactions. RSO recommends against using credit/debit cards for
small purchases or in stand-alone ATM (those not physically located
at a bank), as credit/debit card data theft is an ongoing problem.
Dollar cash is best exchanged at the Consulate for USG official
visitors and USG contractors, upon presentation of travel orders and
a photo ID. In addition, there are exchange houses throughout the
city. Official visitors may also obtain U.S. dollars or local
currency upon presentation of travelers' checks.

17. Further information on traveling and safety within the Russian
federation is available at the State Department's Consular Affairs
web site: http://travel.state.gov/russia.html. Official travelers
are also encouraged to request up-to- date security related
information through their Embassy Control Officer. This information
is available on the DOS OPENNET's Embassy Moscow website (RSO link).


BURNS

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