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Cablegate: Travel Warning - Sri Lanka

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RUCPCIM/CIM NTDB WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 119719

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC PTER ASEC CE
SUBJECT: TRAVEL WARNING - SRI LANKA

STATE 00119719 001.2 OF 002


1. The Department of State warns U.S. citizens about the
risks of travel to Sri Lanka due to continued security
concerns, especially in the northernmost areas and most
of its Eastern Province, as there are still uncleared
landmines and potential for incidents by remnant members
of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Stability in the southern and western areas of the
country has improved with the cessation of hostilities.
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to remain
vigilant while traveling in Sri Lanka. This replaces the
Travel Warning for Sri Lanka dated June 26, 2009 to
update information on safety concerns in specific regions
of the country, and potential problems for U.S. citizen
travelers.

2. On May 19, 2009, after more than 25 years of
conflict, the Sri Lankan government defeated the LTTE, a
designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. The Sri
Lankan government still restricts travel in the Northern
Province. The U.S. Embassy restricts travel for its
employees to the northernmost areas as well as most parts
of the Eastern Province for other than official business.
Consular services to U.S. citizens in these areas will be
delayed. Both regions were previously the primary areas
under LTTE control, and remnants of LTTE may still exist.
Areas to the north also contain uncleared landmines and
demining activity continues. Other post-conflict hazards
may be present as well. A large number of Internally
Displaced Persons camps are located throughout the
northern area and are a sensitive concern to the local
authorities.

3. U.S. citizens are advised to defer all travel to the
Northern Province and the northernmost areas of the North
Central Province, as defined by the A14 road, Medawachiya
town, and the road from Medawachchiya to Horowupatna.
The U.S. Embassy restricts non-official travel by U.S.
government personnel to the Eastern Province, other than
the A6 road corridor and Trincomalee Town (including as
far north as Nilaveli and as far south as China Bay) and
areas in Ampara District south of the A4 road and west of
Maha Oya.

4. While no LTTE incidents have occurred since the end
of the war, the Sri Lankan government's security posture
remains heightened with increased armed checkpoints
throughout the country. Sri Lankan authorities continue
to find hidden caches of military grade weapons in the
formerly disputed areas. U.S. citizens are advised
against travel on public buses in Sri Lanka, as they were
previously targets of LTTE bomb attacks and remain
targets of criminal activity; U.S. embassy personnel in
Sri Lanka are currently prohibited from traveling by
public bus. Demonstrations at or near Western embassies
have also increased in frequency, often with inadequate
police response for crowd control.

5. U.S. citizens of Sri Lankan origin may be subject to
additional scrutiny upon arrival and while in the
country. In some cases, foreigners of Sri Lankan origin
may be detained without their embassies being notified.
The activities of journalists, researchers, aid workers,
and volunteers receive particular attention.

6. U.S. citizens living or traveling in Sri Lanka should
be aware of their personal surroundings and follow
prudent security practices. There is no indication that
U.S. citizens or institutions were, or currently are,
specific targets, but U.S. citizens risk becoming victims
by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They

STATE 00119719 002.2 OF 002


should particularly avoid political rallies, military
bases, military or police convoys, and high security
zones. U.S. citizens, including those of Sri Lankan
origin, are urged to register with the Embassy via the
State Department travel registration page at
https://travelregistration.state.gov/. The Embassy's
contact information is:

U.S. Embassy Colombo
210 Galle Road
Colombo 03
Sri Lanka
Telephone: +94 11 249 8500
Emergency after-hours telephone: +94 11 249 8888
Fax: +94 11 249 8590
American Citizens Services email: ColomboACS@state.gov

7. As the State Department develops information on
potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it
shares credible threat information through its consular
information documents, including Country Specific
Information reports and the Worldwide Caution, available
on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.

8. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on
security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free
in the United States and Canada or, outside the United
States and Canada on a toll line at 1-202-501-4444.
These numbers are available Monday through Friday (except
U.S. federal holidays), from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern
Standard Time.

9. Minimize considered.
CLINTON

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