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Nepal Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

Mar 05, 2003

This Public Announcement is being issued to advise of the changing security situation in Nepal as a result of the cease-fire announcement on January 29, 2003, between the Government of Nepal and the Maoist insurgents. This Public Announcement supersedes the November 22, 2002, Public Announcement for Nepal. It expires on June 5, 2003.

On January 29, 2003, the Government of Nepal (GON) announced a cease-fire with armed insurgents of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists). So far, the cease-fire has resulted in a cessation of armed hostilities between the Maoist insurgents and GON security forces, but reports of Maoist extortion persist, and the insurgents have not disarmed. Terrorist bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations by the Maoists have been suspended since the cease-fire announcement. Whether the current cease-fire agreement will continue remains unclear, however, and a return to violence at any time is possible. Travelers to Nepal should keep in mind that the overall security situation in Nepal remains fluid and could change suddenly. In November 2001, the Maoists unilaterally and without warning broke a cease-fire after several months, withdrew from talks with the GON, and attacked government installations, resulting in the deaths of scores of security forces.

A November 15, 2002, press release by the Maoists threatened violence against any party or "diplomatic communities . . . working against the Maoists," including the American Diplomatic Mission. While the Maoist press release reiterated that Maoist actions are not targeted against foreign tourists, its repeated threatening references to the "American Mission" imply possible danger for both official and private Americans in Nepal. U.S. citizens should continue to vary routes and times of travel, maintain vigilance at all times, keep alert for possible surveillance, and report suspicious activities to the U.S. Embassy's Security Officer.

In areas outside the Kathmandu Valley, the situation remains tense and uncertain, although armed conflicts between the Maoists and government security forces do not appear to be occurring. Since the cease-fire announcement there have been no reports of attacks by the Maoists against civilian transportation on highways within or outside the Kathmandu Valley.

In the months leading up to the January 29 cease-fire announcement, robberies of American trekkers, property destruction, attacks against the facilities of two businesses with an American affiliation, and anti-American rhetoric by the Maoist leadership suggested that Americans in Nepal, particularly those outside the Kathmandu Valley, were at risk.

Americans who want to travel outside the Valley are strongly urged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu for the most recent security information before undertaking such travel. As described above, the security situation in Nepal could change with little notice. Previous Maoist destruction of telephone service and government offices in some trekking areas complicates efforts to locate Americans and arrangements for emergency medical evacuations.

For further information on travel to Nepal, please consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet on Nepal and the most recent Worldwide Caution Public Announcement at http://travel.state.gov and the American Embassy in Nepal's home page at http://www.south-asia.com/USA. Americans living in or visiting Nepal are strongly urged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Nepal by e-mail by accessing the Embassy's home page or by personal appearance. The U.S. Embassy is located at Pani Pokhari in Kathmandu, telephone (977) (1) 411179; fax (977) (1) 419963.

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