U.S. RELAXES SRI LANKA TRAVEL ADVISORY
Posted on November 20th, 2009

Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of State has issued a “revised” travel advisory for Americans in Sri Lanka to, “reflect improving security conditions in the country,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Colombo.

At the same time, Japan relaxed its, “Travel Advisory & Warning,” for Sri Lanka to a “Travel Caution,” also noting the improved security situation.

The United Kingdom revised its own travel warning in July 2009.

Additionally, the Government of Sri Lanka lifted restrictions on those living in the northern city of Jaffna to travel throughout Sri Lanka, a security measure that was imposed during the conflict with the LTTE terrorist group. The LTTE was headquartered in northern Sri Lanka.

The Government also lifted the requirement that lorries must register in order to transit goods between the north and south. It said that such registration was no longer necessary.

The State Department’s decision comes exactly six months after Sri Lankan Government forces defeated the LTTE. No terrorist incidents have occurred in Sri Lanka since then, and tourism arrivals have jumped substantially. The Government expects to attract 2.5 million Tourists in 2010.

In its revised travel warning, the State Department states: “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.”

The State Department does continue to note that landmines are buried throughout northern Sri Lanka. The Government of Sri Lanka has launched a widespread de-mining effort there.

There are an estimated 1.5 million landmines and unexploded ordnance in northern Sir Lanka, and Government forces have continued to unearth buried LTTE weapons caches. But no terrorist incidents have occurred.

More than 288,000 civilians, mostly from the north, were initially displaced by the conflict and then housed in Government-run welfare centers. As de-mining has advanced, a massive resettlement campaign has begun.

As of Nov. 20, 2009, more than half of those displaced civilians had been sent home. The Government has pledged to return most of the displaced by Jan. 31, 2010. About 135,000 people remain in the centers today.

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