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Cablegate: Embassy Colombo Eac Meeting 12/17/2008 -

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #1146 3540815
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190815Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9071
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 2473

UNCLAS COLOMBO 001146

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR DS/IP/RD/SCA, DS/DSS/ITA, CA AND SA/INS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC CASC PTER
SUBJECT: EMBASSY COLOMBO EAC MEETING 12/17/2008 -
RECOMMENDED REVISIONS TO POST TRAVEL POLICY

1. (SBU) Summary: AmEmbassy Colombo convened an Emergency
Action Committee (EAC) meeting on December 17, 2008. In
addition to discussing post's security posture during the
upcoming holiday period, the EAC reviewed proposed revisions
to post's restricted travel zone and travel policy. The
EAC-recommended revisions to the policy included relaxing the
requirement for RSO and other embassy offices to vet requests
for official travel to the Eastern Province and allowing
limited personal travel to limited areas in the Eastern
Province. End summary.

2. (SBU) On December 17, 2008, AmEmbassy Colombo convened an
EAC meeting. Present for the meeting were Deputy Chief of
Mission, Regional Security Officer, Assistant Regional
Security Officer, Regional Affairs Officer, Political
Officer, Economic Officer, Management Officer, Consular
Officer, Public Affairs Officer, USAID Director, Defense
Attache' OPSCO, International Broadcasting Bureau Station
Chief, and Community Liaison Officer. Among the agenda items
for the meeting was a review of post's restricted travel
policy.

3. (SBU) The RSO recommended that the EAC consider revising
the restricted travel zone to reflect the current situation
in the Eastern Province. RSO noted that post had not amended
the restricted travel zone for a few years, and not since the
Government of Sri Lanka had regained control of the Eastern
Province from Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)in 2006
- 2007. The RSO averred that the current security situation
would allow revisions to the areas that required RSO vetting
and that are considered off-limits for personal travel.

4. (SBU) The RSO recommended revising the restricted travel
zone to include the following areas:

-- All of the districts in the Northern Province - Jaffna,
Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar and Vavuniya

-- An area of Anradhapura District (in North Central
Province) that lies north of the A14 Highway to
Medawachchiya; the road from Medawachchiya to Horowupotana;
and, the A12 leading into the Eastern Province

-- The Eastern Province, with the exceptions of the A6
Highway corridor to Trincomalee; Trincomalee Town from China
Bay to Nilaveli; Maha Oya Town (in Ampara District) and the
area west of Maha Oya Town; the area south of the A4 Highway
leading to Pottuvil (the A4 is not in the restricted zone)

5. (SBU) The EAC concurred with the RSO's suggested revisions
to the restricted travel zone. The EAC also recommended that
RSO and other Embassy offices continue to vet and approve all
official travel to the Northern Province. American citizen
Mission employees may not travel at all to the Northern
Province or the restricted areas of the Eastern Province for
personal reasons. Mission employees may journey to the
Eastern Province restricted areas for official purposes only
without seeking DCM approval via the RSO. However, for
official travel to the Eastern Province, employees must
provide full details of their itinerary to the RSO not less
than 24 hours prior to commencing travel. American citizen
Mission members may travel for personal reasons to the areas
listed as exceptions in para. 4 above. However, even for
personal travel to Trincomalee Town, Maha Oya Town, and areas
south of the A4 in Ampara District, Amcit Mission employees
must notify the RSO. Travelers must file their itinerary in
the RSO's Intranet-based locator database at least 24 hours
prior to departing Colombo. Post's travel policy still
prohibits Amcit Mission members' use of public buses and
trains; prohibits travel during hours of darkness within the
restricted travel areas; and, discourages travel after dark
countryside outside urban areas (for traffic safety
purposes). Post will announce these revisions to the Mission
and official Americans by posting a Travel Policy Security
Directive. Post is amending the Country Specific Information
sheet and Travel Warning to reflect the changes and notify
the general American community.

6. (U) Post continues to monitor closely the security
situation and will report further developments, if any,
septel. POC for this message is RSO Michael V. Perkins, who
may be contacted at 94.11.249.8885, 94.11.249.8888 (MSG Post
1 after regular business hours), or via the classified and
unclassified email systems.
Blake

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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