Cablegate: Freetown Grants Country Clearance for Rachel M.


DE RUEHFN #0459/01 2111833
R 301833Z JUL 07




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Freetown welcomes the visit and grants country clearance
for political officers, Rachel M. Conway, Cheryl O. Igiri,
and Leslie A. Payne to travel from August 09 through August
13, 2007 for consultations with embassy officials. Visitors
are urged to read the entire contents of this telegram, as it
provides useful information intended to ensure the success of
your visit to Freetown.

2. Control officer for the visit: Martin Dale,
Political/Economic Officer
Contact numbers: 232-22-515-120 or 232-76-515-120
CELL PHONE: 232-76-616-609.
Embassy Freetown Switchboard: 232-22-515-000 or
232-76-515-000 X 5120.

3. All visiting USG personnel are required to receive a
security briefing from the Regional Security Officer (RSO)
upon arrival. (See Paragraph 10.)

4. Visitors should consult the State Department Intranet
(Opennet: HTTP://Freetown.State.Gov/) or Internet
(HTTP://Freetown.Usembassy.Gov) sites for further information
on the post and country.

5. Accommodations: No hotel reservations required.

6. Visa Information: A passport and visa are required for
entry and visitors should obtain a visa in advance. The
latest information can be obtained from the Embassy of Sierra
Leone, 1701 19th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20009, Tel:
(202) 939-9261 or the nearest overseas Sierra Leonean
Embassy. There is no charge for diplomatic or official
passport holders. There is a charge of 100.00 USD for tourist
passport holders.

Airport visas may be obtained only in extreme circumstances,
as they are very difficult to arrange and are not encouraged.
Therefore, visitors coming from countries without a Sierra
Leonean Embassy should contact their Control Officer at
Embassy Freetown and fax a copy of their passports well in
advance of travel.

7. Health/Medical: Medical facilities in Sierra Leone fall
critically short of U.S. standards. Presently, the only
reliable medical facility is located 45 minutes outside of
Freetown. Official visitors who do not possess a Class I
medical clearance or have serious health concerns, e.g.,
diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or who are on blood thinners
(with the exception of aspirin) are discouraged from
traveling to Sierra Leone. The Embassy Health Unit stocks
only limited medical supplies and is not equipped to handle
serious illnesses. All visitors and permanently assigned
employees traveling to Sierra Leone must have their
vaccinations current to include, but not limited to, tetanus,
yellow fever, polio, meningitis, and rabies (for those
staying longer than 30 days). The cholera vaccine is not
required. Visitors should begin taking malaria prophylaxis
two weeks prior to arrival. It is mandatory that visitors
bring their own supply of medications, as local pharmacies in
Freetown are usually unable to fill prescriptions. The
International Certificate of Vaccinations yellow card should
be hand carried as proof of current yellow fever inoculation.
Avoid eating uncooked vegetables and salads at restaurants
and hotels.

8. Medical Insurance: Non-Department of State personnel or
contractors are required to have medical evacuation insurance
prior to traveling to Sierra Leone.

9. Travel to/from Freetown: Arriving passengers should
proceed through immigration, baggage claim, and customs. An
Embassy-contracted expediter (Lungi Hotel) will meet all
official passengers after they clear immigration and arrange
for transportation to Freetown since Lungi International
Airport is located across the harbor from Freetown. The cost
of this service is $12.00 each way ($24.00 round trip) and
should be paid to the Embassy cashier. If the visitor(s)
arrive(s) and depart(s) during a weekend, please provide
fiscal data or give the funds to the control officer.

Passengers are required to pay for the cost of travel from
Lungi to Freetown. Transport to Freetown is either by ferry
or hovercraft. The traveler is requested to contact their
control officer in advance as to their preference so that the
necessary arrangements can be made. If travel is by
hovercraft, the cost of the hovercraft from Lungi to Freetown
is $50.00 each way, payable in U.S. currency. The hovercraft
landing site is located approximately 10 minutes from the
airport. Passengers are shuttled to the site in a bus. A
driver will meet passengers at the hovercraft site in

If travel is by ferry, it will only be from 0800 to 1900. If
the flight arrives after 1800, passengers will spend the
night at Lungi and travel to Freetown the following day.
Travelers are advised to carry sufficient cash to pay for the
cost of accommodations in Lungi, which is approximately Le
225,000 or USD 75.00/night. Credit cards are not accepted.
In order to cross the ferry, the Embassy will arrange for a
contracted car-hire service with CAMServ Salone. The
contractor will pick-up the visitor(s)at Lungi and then take
them across on the ferry to their final destination in
Freetown. The cost of this service is $150.00 per vehicle.
The cost may be shared among passengers if traveling in a
group, but we can not guarantee that this will always be
possible. This fee is payable to the US Embassy cashier. If
the visitor(s) arrive(s) and depart(s) during a weekend,
please provide fiscal data or give the funds to the control

Regional air service into Freetown is sporadic, thus be
prepared to handle alternate ticketing and/or increased food
and lodging expenses.

Passengers departing Freetown with certain airlines should
expect to pay an Airport Tax of $40.00 (payable in U.S.
Dollars) at the airport.

10. Threat Assessment - Security Advice: All visiting USG
personnel will be required to receive a security briefing
from the Regional Security Officer (RSO) upon arrival.
Sierra Leone is rated high for crime. Visitors will be
provided a two-way radio and instructions on how to summon
assistance in the event of an emergency. All travel outside
of Freetown must have the approval of the Control Officer and
the RSO. The following guidance is provided to ensure your
visit to Sierra Leone is safe and uneventful:

-Do not use credit cards and personal checks in the local
-Do not carry or wear any items that may attract attention by
thieves. Carry needed items deep in your pockets;
-Do not walk around the city alone, especially at night;
-Do not use taxis or public transportation;
-Do not accept the assistance of strangers;
-Do not take photographs of people without first asking as
they can easily become offended. Do not photograph government
or military facilities, including the airport;
-If confronted by criminals, do not make threatening
movements, comments, or gestures. Immediately give the
criminals what they want.

11. Computer Systems Access: If you are a DOS employee and
would like to access OpenNet during your visit (without
taking the 30-60 minute systems security briefing), please
bring confirmation that you have attended within the last
year, the "Security Awareness Briefing on OpenNet Plus."
This must a copy of the certificate you received when you
completed the briefing. Ask your systems administrator if
you need any help locating the DS Security Awareness Briefing

12. Post Policy on Laptops and Thumb Drives: The RSO must
approve the use of any laptop computer in the Embassy. Thumb
drives are not authorized for use on Embassy computers unless
officially issued with a Dept. of State classification label
on it or approved by the IMO. Thumb drives are absolutely
not/not allowed on the CLASSNET. Thumb Drives brought into
the Embassy must be cleared by the RSO Office.

13. General Information: Travelers with TDY orders and
fiscal data may cash checks at the Embassy cashier. The
approximate exchange rate is 3000 Leones to one USD.

© Scoop Media

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