Cablegate: Country Clearance Is Granted for Ambassador


DE RUEHDS #0774/01 0791434
P 191434Z MAR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 27263

1. Embassy Addis Ababa welcomes Ambassador Lincoln P.
Bloomfield, Jr., U.S. Special Envoy for Man-Portable Air
Defense Systems (MANPADS) Threat Reduction, PM/WRA Senior
Policy Advisor Stephanie Pico, and PM/WRA Technical Advisor
Michael Kunst to travel to Ethiopia March 27-28 and April 1,
2008. Lodging has been arranged at the Sheraton Hotel,
telephone 251(011) 517-1717. 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 The purpose of travel is to consult
with officials from the Embassy and host-nation government.

2. Control officer: Dante Paradiso, Deputy
Political-Economic Chief; cell phone: 251(0)91 11-219618,
office telephone number: 251(0)11 517-4289. 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 are Monday to
Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Fridays, from 7:45
a.m to 11:45 a.m.

3. Please be advised that effective immediately, all
visitors must clearly state the purpose of their visit and
the areas to be visited, as well as to check in with post
upon arrival or the appropriate designated Embassy contact.
All visitors must also report the results of their visit
prior to departure to the Front Office. Visitors who alter
their travel plans or focus of their visit without informing
the Embassy, particularly travel to unauthorized, unsafe or
"off limit" areas, or send reports on Ethiopia operations
without clearing such messages with the Embassy will be
denied future clearances. The sponsoring office of the
visitor could also face future restrictions on country
clearance requests for their travelers to Ethiopia. This
policy is being implemented to ensure that all visitors
follow strictly appropriate safety and security measures,
especially avoiding travel to unsafe areas, and also as a
result of visitors disregarding Embassy clearance procedures
and conditions under which Chief of Mission authority is

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 the 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 (AU) are
required to in-brief at the U.S. Embassy prior to
consultations at the AU, and out-brief at the 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 p.m. - 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 8:30 a.m. - 12:00P p.m. Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 11:00
a.m. 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 always should arrive
with enough cash to meet their needs. The current rate of
exchange is approximately 9.47 Ethiopian Birr to one U.S.

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 following guidelines:

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 Office 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 that 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 atovaquone 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. Travel to the Ogaden Region has also been
severely restricted due to recent attacks and all official
USG employees must obtain special permission before traveling
to this region. 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.

14. 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 compound.

15. 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.

16. TDY Action Request: 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. To receive
services such as access to TDYers computers, must in-process
upon arrival.

17. This cable was last updated on May 15, 2007.

© Scoop Media

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