Cablegate: Issues for Discussion with Dhs Secretary
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000322
DEPT FOR SA/INS, EAP/PMBS
E.O 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT CVIS OTRA PREL PTER CE ECONOMICS
SUBJECT: ISSUES FOR DISCUSSION WITH DHS SECRETARY
RIDGE - SRI LANKA AND MALDIVES
REF: SINGAPORE 430
1. Ambassador Lunstead looks forward to the roundtable
discussion with other COMs and DHS Secretary Ridge on
March 8. Following is a list of relevant issues in
Sri Lanka and Maldives, keyed to the format in reftel.
A. Movement of People
In both Sri Lanka and Maldives, we seek to improve the
host country's ability to police its borders. In
particular, we are working to install the TIP/PISCES
program. In both countries, we have good cooperation
with immigration officials but they are hampered by
inadequate databases and other resource constraints.
We are also helping Sri Lanka address its trafficking
in persons problem which largely consists of illegal
Sri Lankan emigration to the Gulf and to Europe.
Embassy Colombo maintains an active anti-fraud
program. Any visa applicant submitting fraudulent
documents is turned over to Sri Lankan anti-fraud
authorities who frequently prosecute.
Our consular section liaises well with regional DHS
entities but it would be a great help if these
relationships were systematized and if greater
information was placed in our visa database. For
example, when we get a Cat I FBI or DHS "hit" on a
visa applicant, it would be extremely helpful if more
information was in the database to help us make an
immediate determination on whether the "hit" applies
to the visa applicant facing the consular officer.
B. Screening Goods
Container Security Initiative (CSI): Bolstering its
aim to become a regional transport hub, Sri Lanka will
be the first of the CSI Tier 2 ports and the first in
South Asia. The majority of containers from Sri Lanka
go to the US. In 2003, Sri Lanka and US Customs
signed a Declaration of Principles and US Customs
conducted a Port assessment, to identify steps
necessary to meet CSI standards. USTDA has funded a
consultant to identify scanning equipment needs, and
develop and evaluate RFP documents.
Many US firms have expressed interest in supplying
scanning equipment, and have teamed with local
companies to bid on this BOO project.
Areas of concern/opportunity in transport security:
1)The need to keep the procurement process fair,
transparent and expeditious;
2)US Customs has not released the results of its
assessment visit conducted in Fall 2003,
keeping the GSL from implementing recommended
3)GSL does not have capacity to design the BOO
project (TDA is attempting to assist);
4)Need US Customs to review the consultant's
report to approve equipment recommendations,
need to provide feedback before RFP is issued;
5)Electronic import and export document project
delayed, but moving;
6)Sri Lankans are eager for more information on
Cargo Screening Rules, Bioterrorism Act
Regulations, and any other US security
7)There are plans for major upgrades to the Port
and Airport, important to incorporate new
security requirements in design (TDA offered a
trip to US for aviation decision makers)
Maldives: Maldives is about to implement ELVIS for its
garment exports to the US.
C. DHS Organizational Issues
Post receives quick responses and excellent
cooperation from many agencies in DHS, especially
Customs, TSA, and FAA. It is sometimes not clear,
though, where responsibilities lie, and what
communications these agencies have directly with the
government of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The cables
sent describing responsibilities have been helpful,
but an overview of the organization, with text or
graphics, would be very helpful. Also, including
Embassies in their communications with the host
government would assist coordination.
D. Public Diplomacy
Public affairs outreach on DHS issues is largely
meaningless unless coupled with funds for training.
Too often we "preach" to other countries about their
law enforcement inadequacies without doing enough to
help them address their shortcomings. INL, ICITAP and
DS/ATA training are all tremendously effective. The
International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in
Bangkok plays a valuable role in improving law
enforcement capabilities and establishing contacts
with law enforcement officials. Unfortunately, there
is no ILEA for South Asia. This should be a priority.
2. Post appreciates Embassy Singapore's efforts to
prepare a briefing book and coordinate the discussion.