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Cablegate: Country Clearance Request for Rebecca K.

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

070557Z Aug 05






E.O. 12958:N/A


1. Embassy Dhaka welcomes Office of Foreign Disaster
and Assistance (OFDA) Regional Advisor Ms. Rebecca K.
Scheurer and USAID/DCHA/AA Special Assistant Ms. Jenny
Marion to travel to Bangladesh on August 21 to 24, 2005
and grants country clearance, contingent repeat
contingent on obtaining a Bangladeshi visa in their
passports prior to arrival in Bangladesh (see Paragraph
3.D. and 3.E. below). The purpose of the visit is to
review performance under the Program for Enhanced
Emergency Response (PEER) and to strategize the next
phase of this OFDA-funded regional program. Control
Officer will be Golam Kabir. Contact information:
Phone (Office) 88-02-885-5500 Ext. 2347, (Home) 88-02-
8820620, (FAX) 88-02-989-0195, E-mail address:
gkabir@usaid.gov. Ms. Scheurer and Ms. Marion hold
`SECRET' and `TOP SECRET' clearances respectively and
will be traveling on diplomatic passports.

2. The Mission's workweek is Sunday-Thursday 0800
hours to 1630 hours. There will be no American or
Bangladeshi holidays during the visit period.

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A. The travelers are advised to carry a copy of this
cable with them for reference.

B. Hotel reservation will not be made as the travelers
mentioned no other assistance but a country clearance

C. Embassy expediter and control officer will not meet
and assist the visitors at airport. Travelers making
more than one connecting flight should consider
rechecking their baggage, especially if transferring
within the region. Embassy also advises carrying a
change of clothes and all important documents in your
carry-on bags.

D. IMPORTANT - PLEASE NOTE: Personnel entering
Bangladesh are required to possess a valid passport,
with a minimum validity of six months. A valid visa is
required prior to arrival. There are no exceptions.
Any traveler arriving without a valid visa will be
returned to the United States or their county of origin
upon the next available flight. Visas are no longer
issued upon arrival. Please ensure that your visa is
valid for at least six months after your scheduled
departure date from Dhaka.

E. In special circumstances, Post will arrange for an
airport visa upon arrival for persons originating
travel to Bangladesh from countries where there is no
Bangladesh visa-issuing mission. For an airport visa
we require (1) a faxed photocopy of the traveler's
passport bio-data page, sent to 880-2-882-4449 at least
7 calendar days in advance; and (2) a statement from
the losing post that there is no Bangladesh mission in
country XXX. The Embassy will not, repeat, not provide
this service to persons originating travel in countries
that have a Bangladesh visa-issuing mission. However,
we urge all travelers to attempt to obtain a visa prior
to traveling to Post.

4. Departure and onward travel: All departing
personnel (including holders of diplomatic and official
passports) are urged to use the services of the U.S.
Mission's travel agent for reconfirming onward travel
and to verify if the departure tax, approximately Taka
300 (approximately USD 5.17) and the travel tax
(approximately Taka 2500) have been included in the
cost of the ticket. If not included, each traveler
will be required to pay the taxes, in Taka only, at the

5. Action Request: Fiscal Data. 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 its visit.
Direct charge costs include, but are not limited to:
American and LES overtime (for such services as airport
expediting, cashier accommodation exchange, control
room staffing, representational event support), travel
and per diem costs incurred by post personnel in
support of visitor's field travel, rental of vehicles
and other equipment, long distance telephone calls,
office supplies, gasoline and other vehicle maintenance
costs, departure tax and other airport fees as
appropriate. For TDYers remaining at post over 30
days, there is a charge for ICASS support services.
This charge is for the following ICASS services: Basic
Package, CLO and Health Services. Agencies will not be
billed until the accumulated invoice cost for TDY
support exceeds $2,500 for the fiscal year. If your
sponsoring agency is not signed up for ICASS services
at post, please be prepared to sign a Memorandum of
Understanding 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, provides the agency ICASS
billing code the TDY support charges should be applied
to, and authorizes the traveler to sign the ICASS
invoice generated by the TDY module. Where travel is
urgent, the TDYer should bring this documentation with
him/her to ensure there are no interruptions in the
provision of service. Post will not provide any
service to a TDYer staying in excess of thirty days
without provision of this documentation before day 31
of the TDY.

6. Currency: The local use of U.S. Dollars (USD) is
prohibited by law, except for the payment of a hotel
bill. The local currency, the Taka, must be used for
all other local transactions. Accommodation exchange
is available at the Chancery through the Citi Bank
cashier. The exchange rate fluctuates and is currently
approximately Taka 64 to USD 1.00. Reverse
accommodation exchange is available only at the
original place of exchange with original documents and
receipts as proof. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs)
are limited and dispense Taka only. Travelers checks
cannot be used in most establishments except
international hotels. However, the Citi Bank at the
Chancery will cash traveler checks for Taka only. Most
major credit cards are accepted at international

7. Club and Commissary:

A. The American Recreation Association (known as ARA
or "The Club") facility is available to U.S. citizen
official visitors for a temporary membership fee of USD
10.00 per week. This can not be pro-rated for a
shorter visit. In addition to the membership fee, you
will be required to purchase a cash card, USD 10.00 per
card or Taka 600.00. A copy of your passport data page
or a passport-sized photograph is necessary to obtain a
cash card. This card will enable you to have meals and
use club facilities (which include tennis court, squash
court, swimming pool, exercise room, and

B. The U.S. Commissary facility is available to U.S.
citizen official visitors who are USG employees.
However, payment is permitted only by USD personal
check or traveler checks. Cash dollars and local
currency payments cannot be accepted. Change will not
be provided for transactions using traveler checks.
Therefore, smaller denomination traveler checks would
be more useful.

8. NOTE: Health - Post cannot emphasize strongly
enough that all travelers must have health insurance
that will cover medical evacuations by air ambulance.
Travelers should carry with them the 24/7 contact
information for their insurer. Medical care in
Bangladesh is very basic and Post does not recommend
that anyone remain hospitalized here.

Intestinal problems are common in Dhaka. Visitors must
exercise care in what they eat and drink; food-borne
diseases are common. Presume that all tap water is
contaminated, even in hotels. Travelers are advised to
drink bottled/boiled water and eat only fruits and
vegetables that have been cooked and peeled.
Undercooked meat should be avoided. Travelers should
also avoid eating uncooked dairy products and food sold
on the streets. Visitors who take medication on a
regular basis should bring enough for the duration of
their visit. It is not always possible to find
equivalents for American prescriptions on the local
market. In general, local medical facilities are
substandard. The U.S. Mission has a Medical Unit
staffed by a U.S. Physician and registered nurses.
Travelers venturing outside Dhaka are advised to use
standard anti-malaria prophylaxis, including taking
appropriate anti-malarial medication, using mosquito
protection and the use of bed netting. It is strongly
recommended that all visitors bring a supply of
mosquito repellent to Dhaka. There have been cases of
mosquito-borne illnesses, including malaria and dengue
fever, which is transmitted by a day-biting mosquito.
The only effective repellant we are aware of contains
DEET (20% DEET is the maximum that is considered safe
for children). Supplies are usually available in the
commissary; however it is a good idea to have your own
supply should you arrive in Dhaka when the commissary
is not open. We also recommend that travelers have
updated immunizations, especially an up-to-date typhoid
immunization (either oral or injectable.)

9. Security: Bangladesh continues to experience some
anti-American sentiment as the result of U.S. military
and other actions in the war against terrorism, and
events in the Middle East. Anti-American
demonstrations throughout Bangladesh, which generally
occur on Friday afternoons, have the potential to take
place any time and to be unruly. In addition, the
longstanding confrontation between the two leading
political parties has prompted general strikes
(hartals), public demonstrations and marches. They can
be called on very short notice and can turn violent.
Normal vehicular traffic is discouraged during hartals.
Visitors should strictly avoid all political protests,
demonstrations and marches. They should consider
possible security risks in deciding whether to attend
other gatherings.

10. Post policy authorizes travelers visiting post to
hand carry an unclassified laptop into the Controlled
Access Area providing that the laptop is transported
under the immediate personal control of the traveler,
or is transported via diplomatic pouch, with prior
approval of the RSO. All travelers must also maintain
continuous, immediate custody of a laptop while in the
CAA. Further instructions will be given during the
security brief upon arrival.

11. The Embassy advises Americans to be aware of their
surroundings at all times, to avoid predictable
behavior, and not to accept packages from unknown
individuals. Sensitive or personal matters should not
be discussed over local telephone lines.

12. The State Department has classified the crime
threat in Dhaka as high. Foreigners are not generally
the target of violent crime. However, pick-pocketing,
purse-snatching and other forms of street crime occur
frequently, especially in areas frequented by
foreigners. Visitors should avoid walking alone after
dark, carrying large sums of money, or wearing
expensive jewelry. Valuables should be stored in the
hotel safety deposit box and should not be left
unattended in hotel rooms. Visitors should use the
Embassy Motor Pool as the Chief of Mission has declared
public transportation to be unsafe. The Regional
Security Officer strongly discourages the use of
rickshaws, baby taxis, and other public transport. In
addition, you should keep the Embassy's 24-hour
emergency telephone number available at all times (880-
02-885-5500); receptionists are on duty 24 hours a day.

13. Agency specific general information: None.

14. We look forward to your visit. Chammas

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