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Cablegate: Travel Warning for Timor-Leste

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 078366

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC ASEC TT
SUBJECT: TRAVEL WARNING FOR TIMOR-LESTE

1. This Travel Warning updates information regarding the
security situation in Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor).
The Department of State advises U.S. citizens of the
continuing potential for violent civil unrest in Timor-
Leste and urges U.S. citizens to consider carefully the
risks of travel to Timor-Leste at this time. Americans
currently in Timor-Leste should evaluate carefully their
safety and security situation in light of this Travel
Warning. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on
February 15, 2008.
2. While politically-related civil unrest in Timor-Leste
has diminished and security has improved, the potential
for violence remains. Security conditions could
deteriorate without warning, and foreigners may be
specifically targeted. U.S. citizens should consider
carefully the risks of travel to Timor-Leste. Those
already in Timor-Leste should exercise caution, limit
movements to the extent possible, and maintain a high
level of security awareness while moving around in Dili;
be alert to the potential for violence, and avoid
demonstrations, large gatherings, and areas where
disturbances have occurred. Demonstrations can occur
anywhere, and especially at or near symbols and
institutions of the Government of Timor-Leste, including
government buildings and houses belonging to prominent
politicians. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful
can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.
3. Since April 2006, Timor-Leste has experienced
outbreaks of politically-related civil unrest, and the
risk of further violent unrest continues. In 2007 violent
disturbances broke out in Dili and in the Eastern
districts of Baucau and Viqueque following the
President's announcement of a new government. In February
2008 rebels carried out an unsuccessful assassination
attempt against the President and Prime Minister. The
attackers subsequently surrendered, and the security
situation has remained calm since then. However,
indiscriminate communal violence and criminal violence
have occurred, and they can occur unexpectedly throughout
the country.
4. Areas in Dili affected by violence have included the
international airport and its surroundings and the areas
around internally displaced persons camps near the Comoro
market and Bairo Pite. Gang-related violence has
occurred often in Dili, and Americans risk intentional or
inadvertent injury when traveling in affected areas.
Criminals have been known to operate illegal checkpoints
for taxis and minibuses in some areas of Dili. American
citizens are advised against using taxis or minibuses for
transportation. Americans remaining in Timor-Leste
despite this warning should monitor the media for updates
on the safety and security situation and check the status
of flights before traveling to the airport.
5. The Government of Australia has advised its citizens
to reconsider their need to travel to Timor-Leste and
warns that Australians and Australian interests may be
specifically targeted. Attackers could indiscriminately
target foreigners, including Americans. The Australian
travel advice may be viewed at
http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/A dvice/East
Timor .
6. Americans in Timor-Leste should immediately register
at the U.S. Embassy and obtain all recent messages sent
to the American community in country. The U.S. Embassy in
Dili may be reached at 670-332-4684 between the hours of
8 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time, or one may call the duty
officer at 670-723-1328 outside business hours. The
Embassy's new website may be viewed at http://timor-
leste.usembassy.gov. The U.S. Embassy is located on
Avenida de Portugal in the Pantai Kelapa area. U.S.
citizens living in or traveling to Timor-Leste may also

STATE 00078366 002 OF 002


register through the State Department's travel
registration website,
https://travelregistration.state.gov.

7. For the latest security information, Americans living
and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the
Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website
at http://travel.state.gov/, where the current Worldwide
Cautions, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings may be
found. Travelers should also consult the Department of
State's latest Country Specific Information for Timor-
Leste. Current information on security may also be
obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the
United States and Canada. Callers from other areas may
call a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers
are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through
Friday (except on U.S. federal holidays).
8. Minimize considered.
RICE

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