The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Sept. 1 informed members of trade advisory committees that they face a mid-October initial deadline to register as stakeholders to attend the Dec. 15-18 World Trade Organization ministerial in Nairobi, Kenya, while also highlighting a State Department travel warning about heightened threats from terrorism in the country, according to informed sources.
The memorandum from Assistant USTR for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement Omar Khan did not explicitly encourage or discourage cleared advisers from attending the WTO ministerial. It merely pointed out that any advisers who wish to attend must be accredited by the WTO as non-governmental organizations, and that the first deadline for this process falls on Oct. 16.
This is the date by which NGOs must file for accreditation. The WTO subsequently reviews the application, and if it is approved, then representatives from the NGO have until Nov. 13 to register for the ministerial.
The USTR memo included a link to the State Department’s most recent travel warning for Kenya, dated May 13, 2015.
â€œThe U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya,â€ the advisory states. â€œU.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should be aware of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas.â€
While noting that thousands of U.S. citizens visit Kenya each year without incident, the warning highlights a number of attacks over the past several years by Al-Qaeda and its affiliate, Al-Shabaab. Among these was the September 2013 attack by Al-Shabaab at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, which killed at least 67 people.
The advisory also notes that the U.S. Embassy in Kenya has restricted U.S. government personnel from traveling to certain areas of the country and relocated some embassy staff to other countries in June and July of 2014 due to the security situation. The Peace Corps also withdrew from the country in July 2014 for security reasons, according to the advisory.