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Macedonia Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Oct 22, 2001

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Macedonia.

While the situation in Macedonia has begun to stabilize, it remains unsettled and potentially dangerous. The Department of State lifted the ordered departure status for the U.S. Embassy in Skopje on October 22, 2001. Embassy personnel in non-emergency positions are returning to duty in Skopje. Dependents of embassy personnel are also being allowed to return to Macedonia at this time.

Although the level of violence has diminished, localized political and inter-ethnic violence 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 consider their personal security situations and to take those measures they deem appropriate to ensure their well-being and personal security, including consideration of departure from the country.

In July 2001, rioters staged violent protests in downtown Skopje at several Western diplomatic missions, including the U.S. Embassy. Since August, 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 casualties. While Americans have not been singled out 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 luggage in public areas, and other common indicators that something out of the ordinary is in progress.

Periodic closures of the border with Kosovo have occurred with little or no notice and may continue to do so. There continue to be 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 is uncertain. Macedonian security forces have also established checkpoints. American citizens should use extreme caution in 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. In these areas, official Americans are restricted to travel on hard-topped roads during daylight hours. Travel restrictions and curfews on official Americans are subject to change on short notice.

Private Americans who choose to remain in Macedonia should take similar precautions to those listed above. In addition, U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness and to reduce their vulnerability: maintain a low profile, avoid crowds and demonstrations, monitor local news sources, and vary routes and times for all required travel. All Americans in Macedonia are urged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Skopje and to consult the Embassy for updated safety and security information.

This Travel Warning supersedes the September 5 Travel Warning for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to reflect authorization for the return of U.S. Government personnel and to update the security situation. For further information, please consult the Consular Information Sheet for Macedonia on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.

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