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Macedonia Travel Warning

Issued by U.S. Department of State

May 21, 2002

This Travel Warning has been revised to note that the security situation in Macedonia is improving as a result of steps taken to implement the August 2001 Framework Agreement, which called for legislative and constitutional changes as the groundwork for a sustainable peace. Nevertheless, Americans are still warned to defer travel to Macedonia. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Macedonia dated November 29, 2001.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Macedonia. The security situation in Macedonia is improving as a result of steps taken to implement the August 2001 Framework Agreement, which called for legislative and constitutional changes as the groundwork for a sustainable peace. Nevertheless, the situation remains unsettled and potentially dangerous. Although the overall level of violence has diminished, localized political and inter-ethnic violence, including armed exchanges, continues. Acts of intimidation and violence against American citizens remain possible, and land mines and unexploded ordnance pose a continuing threat. Because of these concerns, all American citizens in Macedonia are urged to review their personal security situations and to take those measures they deem appropriate to ensure their well-being.

In July 2001, rioters staged violent protests in downtown Skopje at several Western diplomatic missions, including the U.S. Embassy. Americans should avoid demonstrations and sites where large crowds are gathered. Since August 2001, there have been bombings in Skopje and in the Tetovo area, directed at civilians as well as government or military targets. These bombings have generally occurred late at night and have resulted in few casualties. While Americans have not been targeted in these bombings, they should be aware of the potential for bombings throughout the country. Americans are urged to be alert for unusual behavior, unattended packages or luggage in public areas, and other common indicators of something out of the ordinary.

Periodic closures of the border with Kosovo have occurred with little or no notice and may continue to do so. There are continuing reports of periodic checkpoints being manned by armed gunmen, and government control of some villages in the area east of the Crna Gora Mountains and the area north and west of Tetovo and Gostivar remains uncertain. Macedonian security forces have also established checkpoints.

Travel by U.S. Government personnel to the area west of the Tetovo-Gostivar highway to the Albanian border, the area north of Skopje and Tetovo up to the Kosovo and Serbian border, and to the north and west of Kumanovo to the Kosovo border is subject to restrictions and extra precautions. Travel restrictions on official Americans are subject to change on short notice. Those Americans electing to travel in these areas are encouraged to restrict their movements to daylight hours and, as a precaution against land mine hazards, to hard-topped roads.

Americans in Macedonia should take similar precautions to those listed above. In addition, U.S. citizens, visiting or resident, are urged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Skopje and to consult the Embassy for updated safety and security information. Americans traveling and residing abroad should monitor closely the Department's Internet site and http://travel.state.gov, including the Consular Information Sheet for Macedonia.

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