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Bosnia and Herzegovina Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

Dec 27, 2004

This Travel Warning has been revised to update security information and remind American citizens of the potential danger of travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This Travel Warning supersedes that of June 2, 2004.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens that there are still risks from occasional localized political violence, landmines, and unexploded ordnance in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Local violence may occur without warning, related to political developments in the country. Criminal activity has also been on the rise, particularly in urban areas with a marked increase in reports of residential break-ins, vehicle and petty theft. There exists a substantial organized crime presence in several parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina; however, violent confrontations between rival criminal elements pose little direct threat to Americans. Travelers are warned to exercise additional vigilance in urban areas to avoid being victimized during confrontational crime.

The international community, including American interests, continues to be the target of occasional threats. In addition, increased efforts to capture persons indicted for war crimes resulted in isolated local disruptions and protests in 2004.

U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert, and may close temporarily or suspend public services to review their security posture. The Embassy in Sarajevo has closed in the past to review its security posture and may have to do so again. In those instances, the Embassy will make every effort to continue providing emergency services to American citizens. Official U.S. Government employees and affiliated personnel under the Embassy's authority are subject to periodic travel restrictions when the security situation warrants it. These restrictions are subject to change on short notice, and Americans who visit Bosnia-Herzegovina should contact the Embassy in Sarajevo for updated security information.

Although mine and unexploded ordnance clearance continues, there are still areas that are deemed unsafe by international de-ming organizations. Estimates vary, but a conservative figure suggests that more than 500,000 mines and other unexploded ordnance remain uncleared. While urban areas have been declared "mine-safe," the location of some minefields is unknown and the de-mining community recommends remaining on hard-packed surfaces. Abandoned and destroyed buildings and orchards should not be approached, as uncleared mines still surround them. Families traveling with children should be especially aware of this danger and make sure the children do not stray from safe areas.

Persons considering travel to Bosnia should check the latest information available before traveling. It is always recommended to avoid crowds and demonstration, keep a low profile in dress and actions, and stay alert for changes in the security situation. The U.S. Embassy may not be able to provide consular services to U.S. citizen in areas where local authorities will not cooperate with or protect U.S. Government officials. Americans in Bosnia and Herzegovina, visiting or resident, are urged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo and enroll in the warden system (emergency alert network) in order to obtain updated information on travel and security in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

U.S. travelers can also get up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. or Canada, or on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Worldwide Caution Public Announcement at http://travel.state.gov.

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