Cablegate: Country Clearance Request - Acota
DE RUEHDS #1230/01 1100615
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200615Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5754
INFO RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3999
UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 001230
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/RSA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MASS OTRA UG ET
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE REQUEST - ACOTA
REF: STATE 050924
1. Embassy Addis Ababa welcomes African Contingency Operations
Training and Assistance (ACOTA) Program and Policy Coordinator Chip
Beck and ACOTA Regional Training and Operations Manager Richard Roan
to from o/a April 25-26, 2007. Country clearance is granted subject
to the actual security situation at the time of proposed travel.
Travelers should re-confirm this clearance with the control officer
72 hours prior to commencement of travel, and consult the Department
of State website at http://travel.state.gov. The purpose of the
visit is to transit en route to the ACOTA Peace Support Operations
Training Strategy Conference (TSC) in Uganda.
2. Control officer: Eric Wong, Political Officer; cell phone:
251(0)91 150-2116, office telephone number: 251(0)11 517-4560/4289.
The mission duty officer can be reached at 251(0)11 517-4000, cell
phone 251(0)91 121-3437 or after hours at 251(0)11 124-2400. The
Embassy pouch address is 2030 Addis Ababa Place, Washington, DC
20521-2030. The Embassy operating hours is from Monday to Thursday
is 7:45 a.m. to 17:30 hrs. On Fridays, from 7:45 a.m to 11:45 hrs.
3. Post understands that no further embassy assistance is required.
4. Entry Requirements: Post strongly recommends that
Business/Tourist visas be obtained at the closest Ethiopian embassy
to the traveler's point of origin. If that is not possible, for
persons traveling on an ordinary U.S. passport, a business visa
valid for five days only if he/she has a relevant document can be
obtained only at Bole International Airport for USD 20.00. A
Tourist visa can be given for one month only. A person traveling on
a diplomatic passport can obtain an entry visa free of charge.
Passengers should be aware that, if they elect to obtain an entry
visa at the airport, they may be delayed by as much as one or two
hours. Be sure to have exact change in U.S. dollars to pay for the
visa, as change for larger bills is virtually impossible to find at
the visa counter and efforts to obtain change from airport banks may
result in even longer delays. NOTE: In accordance with terms of a
SOFA agreement signed with the Government of Ethiopia, military
personnel are allowed to travel within Ethiopia using their military
I.D. cards as valid travel documents. Individuals (both military
and civilian) who are visiting the African Union are required to
in-brief at the U.S. Embassy prior to consultations at the AU and
out-brief U.S. Embassy at the conclusion of consultations at the AU
prior to departure.
5. If a traveler is coming from or has recently visited countries
where yellow fever, cholera or influenza is endemic, immunization
records documenting yellow fever and/or cholera vaccination may be
required to enter the country. Travelers coming directly from the
U.S. or Europe are generally not asked for such documentation.
Recommended vaccinations include: tetanus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B,
typhoid, meningitis, poliomyelitis and, for high-risk groups,
6. Visitors should confirm onward flight reservations at least 72
(seventy-two) hours prior to departure to reduce the possibility of
cancellation. Please note that many airlines operating in Ethiopia
cancel reservations that have not been confirmed and will often
refuse to reinstate them at the time of scheduled departure.
7. Money: Credit cards are not accepted at most hotels, except for
the Sheraton and the Hilton and are not accepted at any local
restaurants, shops or other facilities. Foreigners are required to
pay for car rentals in hard currency. There are no ATMs in
Ethiopia. You will not be able to get cash using your ATM card, but
guests and visitors at the Sheraton Addis Hotel can obtain up to USD
500.00 per day using a major credit card that has a cash advance
facility. For travelers on official orders, the Embassy and USAID
cashiers and Bank of Abyssinia provide accommodation exchange
services. The Bank of Abyssinia provides these services (cashing a
personal check drawn on a U.S. bank to local currency) at both the
Embassy (in the lobby of the Admin Building from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00
p.m., Monday through Friday) and USAID (2:00 - 4:00 p.m., Monday
through Thursday and 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. on Friday). The Embassy
cashier provides cashing service for USD cash to local currency.
The embassy cashier hours are Monday to Thursday from 8:30am to
12:00PM, Friday from 8:30am to 11:00am and Wednesday is closed. The
daily maximum is USD 500.00. Both the Embassy and USAID cashiers can
sometimes provide U.S. dollars if needed, but supplies are very
limited. For this reason, travelers should always arrive with
enough cash to meet their needs. The current rate of exchange is
approximately 8.70 Ethiopian Birr to one U.S. dollar.
8. Currency regulations: Currency declarations are required on
entry to Ethiopia, and travelers may be asked by customs officials
to show the amount of currency they have. Holders of diplomatic or
official passports will not be asked. It is illegal to buy or sell
foreign currency except at banks, or licensed hotels. It is also
against the law to pay for purchases with foreign currency. If you
wish to pay your hotel bill in cash, you must exchange the hard
currency at a legal exchange point and present the receipt to the
hotel at time of payment.
9. Health: Medical facilities in Ethiopia generally do not meet
international standards. Very basic care is available at some
private hospitals in Addis Ababa (and through the Embassy Health
Unit for authorized users). Because of its altitude (7,000-8,000
feet above sea level), travel to Addis Ababa is not recommended for
those with pulmonary/heart conditions. This includes individuals
suffering from bronchial asthma, angina pectoris, previous
myocardial infarction, emphysema, congestive heart failure or sleep
apnea. Individuals with sickle cell anemia should carefully
consider the altitude of this post before traveling here.
Dehydration is a common problem and travelers should ensure that
they drink plenty of clean, bottled water, which is widely available
in shops or restaurants. (NOTE: Do not accept a bottle that is
unsealed.) Many pharmacies in Addis Ababa are reasonably well
stocked, but medications are not always standard and may not even be
genuine. Travelers should bring sufficient supplies of any
medications they might need while in country. Post policy is to
stabilize those requiring acute care and to evacuate them
immediately. All travelers are advised to closely adhere to the
A. Short-term (TDY) assignments carry an added risk because of the
lack of time for acclimatization. Dehydration and stress from
exercise or illness compound the basic risks of high altitude. For
more information, contact your health unit or the medical clearances
section of the Offices of Medical Services.
B. Bring sufficient supplies of all chronic and emergency
C. Only personnel covered under the State Department's medical
program, and with a valid medical clearance for Addis Ababa are
eligible for medevac at USG cost. All other visitors are required
to have in their possession documentation of currently valid medical
evacuation insurance sufficient to ensure evacuation by chartered
air ambulance or ensure their agency will cover the cost.
D. Malaria prophylaxis is not needed in Addis Ababa, but is needed
should travel be extended to lowland malarial areas outside Addis
Ababa. Medical facilities are not generally adequate to care for
complications due to malaria. Chloroquine-resistant malaria is
present at lower elevations of Ethiopia. In these areas, malaria
prophylaxis containing mefloquine, doxycycline or chloroquine with
proguanil, together with exposure prevention techniques (use of
mosquito repellent, long-sleeve shirts and long trousers, mosquito
nets, etc.) are essential.
10. Weather: Addis Ababa experiences two rainy seasons (light rains
from February through April and heavy rains from June through
September). The average daytime temperature in Addis Ababa is
between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime temperatures can
range from the upper 30's to the low 60's depending upon the time of
year. Business dress in Addis Ababa tends to be fairly formal, with
jackets and ties for men and skirts or pant-suits standard for
women. Travelers should bring a medium weight sweater or jacket for
evenings, when the temperature drops as soon as the sun sets.
Because of the altitude, the sun in Addis Ababa is quite intense,
and travelers should carry and use a strong sun block.
11. Electronic equipment: Items for personal use (short-wave radio,
laptop computer, still camera, video camera) can be brought into
Ethiopia. Generally such items must be declared on arrival, when a
customs officer will list these items in the traveler's passport.
Customs officials may then check on departure to insure that these
items are being taken out of the country again. CD players,
commercial quality camera equipment, video or DVD players or other
work-related electronic equipment or tools may be difficult to bring
into the country and may be impounded by Customs officials at the
airport. Travelers who intend to bring such equipment into Ethiopia
should provide the Embassy or USAID complete details (e.g., type of
equipment, number being imported, make(s), model(s) and serial
number(s)) at least 24 hours prior to their arrival so that
appropriate arrangements can be made for bringing it into Ethiopia.
12. Security: The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to
consider deferring travel to northern Tigray (bordering Eritrea) and
regions bordering Somalia due to security concerns. In the northern
part of the country, the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict could rekindle
without warning and significantly affect the border region between
both countries. Transportation to this area has been disrupted on
occasion, limiting the U.S. government's ability to assist its
citizens. Other areas of Ethiopia, particularly in border areas,
are subject to periodic instability, and visitors planning to travel
outside of Addis Ababa should consult the Consular Information Sheet
and check with the Regional Security Officer for the most up-to-date
security information before beginning travel.
13. Crime: Pick-pocketing and other petty crimes are prevalent in
urban areas. There are occasional reports of thieves snatching
jewelry. Visitors should exercise normal caution and not carry
large sums of money or wear excessive jewelry on their persons.
Visitors should carry wallets and other valuables where they will
not be susceptible to pickpockets. Walking in Addis Ababa after
dusk is not safe. Night driving is strongly discouraged outside of
major urban areas. Armed banditry can occur on roads outside major
towns or cities and may be accompanied by violence.
The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately
to the U.S. embassy located on Entoto Road and to the local police.
It is advisable to leave passports, plane tickets and valuables in a
hotel safe. Visitors, however, will be asked to show passports or
other official identification when entering the U.S. embassy
14. Photography: Ethiopians are very sensitive about photography.
It is strictly prohibited to photograph military installations,
police or military personnel, industrial facilities, government
buildings, and infrastructure facilities (roads, bridges, ports,
airfields, etc.). Confiscation of film or camera or even arrest may
result. Tourist photography, on the other hand, is encouraged. A
good rule of thumb: If there is any doubt about whether the
photograph should be taken, don't take it.
15. Action Request: Each visitor, regardless of length of stay,
must bring/forward fiscal data to pay for direct costs of the visit.
Each agency, organization, or visiting delegation will be charged
for the actual costs attributed to their visit. Direct charges costs
include, but are not limited to: American and LES staff overtime
(e.g. expediter, accommodation exchange, representational event
support), field travel-lodging and M&IE by Embassy employees,
vehicle rentals, long distance telephone calls, equipment rentals,
office supplies and all other costs that are directly attributable
to the visit. Also, for TDYers over thirty (30) days, there will be
a charge for ICASS support services. If your sponsoring agency is
not signed up for ICASS services at Post, please be prepared to sign
a MOU for ICASS support services upon arrival. The agency should
provide Post with a written communication, generated by the
traveler's headquarters that confirms the agency will pay ICASS
charges for the TDYer, provide the agency charges ICASS billing code
for the TDY support to be applied, and authorize the traveler to
sign the ICASS invoice generated by the TDY module. Where travel is
urgent, the TDYers should bring this documentation with them to
ensure there are no interruptions in the provision of service. Post
will not provide any services to a TDYer staying in excess of thirty
days without this documentation prior to day 31 of the TDY.
16. This cable was last updated on August 30, 2006.