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Cablegate: Travel Warning - Eritrea

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UNCLAS STATE 090230

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC ASEC KPAO PREL ER
SUBJECT: TRAVEL WARNING - ERITREA

1. The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens
of the risks of travel to Eritrea and recommends that
U.S. citizens defer all travel there because of
Eritrean government restrictions on travel outside
the capital city of Asmara, an increased number of
Americans arrested without clear justification, and
heightened tensions along Eritrea's borders with
Ethiopia and Djibouti. This replaces the Travel
Warning dated February 18, 2009.
2. The Eritrean government continues to restrict the
travel of all foreign nationals, including resident
diplomats. These restrictions require all visitors
and residents to apply 10 days in advance for
permission to travel outside the Asmara city limits.
As a result, the U.S. Embassy cannot provide
emergency consular assistance outside of Asmara.
3. There also have been an increased number of
Eritrean-U.S. dual citizens arrested without apparent
cause. U.S. citizens are cautioned that once
arrested, one may be held for a long time without
being charged before being released. Recently
incarcerated Americans report harsh prison
conditions, with little or no food and water, and
unsanitary surroundings. The Eritrean government
does not inform the U.S. Embassy when U.S. citizens,
including those who are not dual nationals, have been
arrested or detained.
4. U.S. citizens are strongly advised to avoid travel
near the Eritrean-Ethiopian border and to the
Southern Red Sea region, including the port of Assab.
5. U.S. citizens considering travel within Eritrea
should be aware of the presence of large numbers of
Eritrean and Ethiopian troops along the Eritrean-
Ethiopian border, and acute political tensions
between the two countries. In March 2008, Eritrean
restrictions on diesel fuel supplies caused the
United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea's
detachments to withdraw from the Temporary Security
Zone, leaving no international observers monitoring
the border.
6. Since April 2008, Djiboutian and Eritrean troops
have been deployed along the Eritrea-Djibouti border.
The Djiboutian government claims Eritrean troops have
crossed into its territory and on June 10, 2008,
Djiboutian and Eritrean troops exchanged fire along
their shared border.
7. U.S. citizens currently living or traveling in
Eritrea are strongly encouraged to register with the
U.S. Embassy in Asmara in person or through the State
Department's travel registration web site,
https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain
updated information on travel and security within
Eritrea. By registering, U.S. citizens make it
easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of an
emergency and provide updates on the security
situation. The U.S. Embassy is located at 179 Alaa
Street, P.O. Box 211, Asmara; telephone (291-1) 12-
00-04, available 24 hours in case of emergency; fax
(291-1) 124-255 and (291-1) 127-584; web site
http://asmara.usembassy.gov/.

8. For additional information, consult the Department
of State's Country Specific Information sheet for
Eritrea and the Worldwide Caution at
http://travel.state.gov. American citizens may also
obtain up-to-date information on security conditions
by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United
States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from overseas.
9. Minimize considered.
CLINTON

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