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Travel Warning: Cote d'Ivoire

Originally released February 8, 2005, this information is current as of Tuesday, May 31, 2005. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid a certain country.

This Travel Warning is being issued to inform American citizens that the Department of State has lifted the authorized departure status of non-emergency American employees and adult family members of all employees at the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. However, the Department continues to prohibit minor dependents from accompanying U.S. government employees there. The Department alerts U.S. citizens to ongoing safety and security concerns in Cote d'Ivoire and urges them to defer non-essential travel to that country. This supersedes the Travel Warning of December 3, 2004.

After the violence that occurred in early November 2004, Cote d'Ivoire has been mostly quiet. However, the security situation remains tense and potentially volatile. While the Department of State has determined that the current situation in Cote d'Ivoire warrants lifting of authorized departure status, it still asks Americans to defer travel there at this time. The airport has re-opened and there are a number of flights by regional and European carriers that service Abidjan. Land routes to the Ghanaian border remain open.

On November 4, 2004, Ivorian government forces launched aerial attacks on cities in northern Cote d'Ivoire controlled by the New Forces, resulting in the deaths of Ivorians and non-Ivorians. After an aerial attack caused the deaths of nine French soldiers and one American civilian, the French reacted by destroying most Ivorian air assets and seizing the airport. In response, there were widespread confrontations between Ivorian demonstrators and the French military, resulting in some Ivorian civilian and military deaths. These incidents were accompanied by widespread rioting, looting, and violence in Abidjan and elsewhere, directed against the French, but also other expatriate and some Ivorian individuals, homes, and businesses. French schools in Abidjan were destroyed and have not since reopened. Cote d'Ivoire has been relatively quiet since mid-November, but security remains volatile and there is a risk of renewed conflict throughout the country.

Embassy employees have been instructed to reduce travel within Abidjan and to avoid travel at night. Travel to most areas outside of the capital is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Private American citizens are urged to follow the same guidelines. Americans should also be sure that their vehicles are fully fueled, and that they have adequate cooking fuel, food and water for several days.

The U.S. Embassy in Abidjan may close temporarily for general business from time to time to review its security posture. U.S. citizens who remain in, or travel to, Cote d'Ivoire despite this Travel Warning should consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet for Cote d'Ivoire and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement at http://travel.state.gov. Americans are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy by completing a registration form on-line at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ , by calling (225) 20-21-09-79, or by faxing (225) 20-22-45-23. American citizens in Cote d'Ivoire who need assistance should contact the embassy at (225) 20-21-09-79. American citizens may also obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States or Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from overseas.

For additional information, call the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 888-407-4747 and consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Cote d'Ivoire, available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. Please also see the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.

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