Cablegate: Country Clearance for Drc - William Fitzgerald, Antoinette
DE RUEHKI #1934/01 3621610
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281610Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5359
UNCLAS KINSHASA 001934
AID/W FOR DCHA/OFDA- FERRARA
STATE FOR PRM
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OTRA AMGT APER ASEC PREF CG
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR DRC - WILLIAM FITZGERALD, ANTOINETTE
FERRARA, WENDY HENNING
REF: STATE 203436
1. Post grants country clearance and welcomes the arrival of Deputy
Assistant Secretary William Fitzgerald, Program Officer Wendy
Henning along with USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
Director of the Disaster Response and Mitigation Division,
Antoinette Ferrara to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from
January 13 - 25, 2007 to participate in a joint assessment mission
2. POINT OF CONTACT
Bill Damour and Jay Nash will be the Control Officers for the visit
and can be reached at:
Office Phone: 011-243-81-225-5872
Cell phone: 011-243-81-880-4901
Office Phone: 011-243-81-880-3274
Cell Phone: 011-243-81-880-1426
3. VISA REQUIREMENTS
A valid Congolese visa is required of all American passport holders,
whether diplomatic, official or tourist. Congolese visas cannot be
issued at the airport.
4. FISCAL DATA REQUIREMENTS
Fiscal data or credit card info must be provided in advance to the
control officer listed above for any assistance required, including
meet and assist at the airport, hotel reservations, cell phones,
airport expeditors, translators/interpreters, etc. The Embassy is
unable to make hotel reservations or rental arrangements without
5. ALL VISITS MUST COMMENCE IN KINSHASA
At the Ambassador's request, all visits to the Democratic Republic
of Congo, which require country clearance, are to commence in
Kinshasa, the country's capital. Travel to other regions of the
country including the Kivus, Orientale and Maniema provinces, is to
be undertaken from Kinshasa. Embassy Kinshasa will provide
assistance with these travel arrangements. As travel in the Congo
can be complicated, visitors should consult with their Embassy
control officer early in the planning process.
6. AIRPORT ADVICE FOR ARRIVING PASSENGERS
Procedures at Ndjili Airport are changing as airport officials try
to strengthen security procedures. At this time, Embassy expeditors
are no longer allowed in the Arrivals Hall and can provide
assistance only after travelers pass through Immigration control.
After deplaning and entering the Arrivals Hall, travelers should
proceed to the "Official VIP/Diplomat" line, with passports and
health certificates ready for presentation to the Immigration
officials. After clearing Immigration, travelers will be met on the
other side of the booth by the Embassy expeditor, holding a placard
with the names of travelers being met.
The expeditor will then collect baggage claim tickets and passports,
collect the bags, and then take travelers outside to the Embassy
vehicles. Once outside the terminal, local porters will carry your
bags to the Embassy vehicle. Please be prepared to give the
expeditor one USD per bag to pay the porters.
While at the airport, travelers are warned to not, repeat not, pay
money or give their documents to anyone other than the Embassy
expeditor. This also applies to individuals in uniform, who may
offer their services. Be polite but do not accept their
7. CUSTOMS AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT
If you will be carrying tools, heavy cases, or any electronic
equipment other than personal devices, contact your control officer
with specific information that can be passed to the expeditor for
assistance with customs clearance.
Three single rooms have been booked at the Memling Hotel, tel:
011-243-81-700-1111. The room price is within per diem and includes
Due to elections and possible demonstrations throughout the election
period, Post remains in an enhanced security position.
Kinshasa is a critical threat crime post. Although there is no
specific threat targeting Americans, all visitors should remain
vigilant and cautious during their stay in Kinshasa. Because of
political instability in parts of the country, all travel outside of
Kinshasa must be approved by the RSO. Your control officer will
make reservations for you at one of the hotels the Regional Security
Office has approved for visitors. The RSO advises that you exercise
caution in the areas around these hotels, and that you not travel
after nightfall unless accompanied by someone familiar with the
security situation in Kinshasa. TDY personnel should not use any
form of local transportation and should refrain from
displaying/using cameras in public.
A recent scam involves individuals in civilian clothes claiming to
be Congolese police/security officials who approach unsuspecting
expatriates on the street and demand to see their passport or other
identification documents. They try and convince the would-be victim
to get in their unmarked vehicle and accompany them to the local
police precinct. If you are on the street and approached by someone
claiming to be a police or security official, identify yourself as a
diplomat working at the U.S. Embassy, walk briskly away, and make
sure to report the incident to the RSO or Post One as soon as you
have access to a phone. Do not approach or get in their vehicle.
The use of dollars in the DRC is legal and acceptable for most
transactions. Travelers arriving in the DRC with more than USD
10,000 must fill out a currency declaration. Travelers departing
the DRC are not allowed to take out more than USD 10,000 in cash.
Please note that ATMs are not available in Congo. However, USG
personnel are authorized USD and Franc Congolais accommodation
exchange at the Embassy and/or USAID cashier; personal or travelers'
checks are acceptable. Most personnel use Franc Congolais only for
small purchases and tips.
American Express, Visa, Master Card, and Diner's Club are accepted
in payment of bills at Kinshasa's two major hotels. However, very
few other businesses in the Congo accept credit cards and their use
outside of the major hotels is discouraged. Cashing travelers
checks outside the Embassy is generally not advised because banks
charge substantial fees for cashing them; travelers checks are
rarely accepted at all outside of Kinshasa.
Access to the Embassy Health Unit is available for US citizen,
direct-hire USG employees and their eligible family members. If you
have been or will be posted more than 60 days overseas in a calendar
year (not necessarily consecutive), you must provide proof of a
Department of State medical clearance from M/MED to qualify for
access to the our Health Unit. Official visitors who are overseas
less than 60 days in a calendar year are not required to have
medical clearance and are authorized emergency, but not routine, use
of the Health Unit.
Other official visitors may receive Health Unit services if they
meet the following criteria: 1) an individual employment
relationship with the USG, 2) a MED Washington clearance, and 3) a
USG agency that guarantees payment for medical expenses and/or
personal overseas health and medevac insurance. Visitors without
Health Unit access will be referred to a local medical clinic, which
provides all emergency and non-routine medical care for Embassy
employees and family members.
MALARIA: Congo is a malaria-affected area. All travelers should
consult with medical personnel and take malaria prophylactics as
appropriate, before arriving in Kinshasa.
YELLOW FEVER: You must have a valid yellow fever vaccination and
your yellow vaccination card when you arrive. You may be charged a
fine of $50-$100 without proof of vaccination.
12. ACCESS TO CONTROLLED ACCESS AREAS
Each visitor to Kinshasa requiring unescorted access to controlled
access areas (CAA) must arrange for their sponsoring agency or
sending post to forward their security clearance to the RSO by
telegram in advance of the visit. In accordance with regulations, a
diplomatic passport or Department of State identification card is
not sufficient to allow unescorted access to CAA'S. Kinshasa does
not have the resources to escort visitors who arrive without proper
advance security clearance.
13. Government-owned thumb/flash drives with proper classification
label can be used at Post, but only on Open Net computers outside of
the Controlled Access Area (CAA). These devices cannot be used on
any classified computers at Post. Thumb/flash drives must be hand
carried and protected the same as a laptop. The drive(s) could be
pouched in advance to the control officer or the IMO. Upon arrival
at Post, the Control Officer will provide a thumb/flash drive
request form that should be completed and taken to the IPC or ISC
along with the flash drive before use. Questions should be directed
to Information Management Officer (IMO) MbennaVG@state.gov or
Information Systems Security Officer(ISSO) BakkenCA@state.gov.
14. You may visit the Embassy's Intranet website at
http://kinshasa.state.gov. While still under construction,
information is being added daily that you may find useful.
15. Have a good trip. Post looks forward to seeing you in Kinshasa.