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State Department: Albania - Travel Warning, September 22, 1998

Albania - Travel Warning
September 22, 1998

The Department of State warns against all travel to Albania because of recent declarations by Islamic extremists against the United States and its citizens, and because the overall security situation in Albania remains unstable. U.S. citizens in Albania are urged to consider their personal security situations, and, if appropriate, to leave Albania.

Given the possibility that the U.S. Embassy's personnel and facilities in Tirana, Albania, could be among the targets of a terrorist attack, the Department of State on Aug. 14 ordered the departure of Embassy personnel in nonemergency positions and families of Embassy personnel, and later further reduced its staff. As a result of reduced staff, the Embassy has temporarily suspended normal consular operations and is able to offer only emergency services to U.S. citizens.

On September 14, incidents of violence occurred in the center of Tirana. Mobs commandeered armored personnel carriers and fired automatic weapons at government buildings. Police returned fire. Mobs attacked and occupied government buildings and looted shops. Police stations in the towns of Lezha and Fieri have also been attacked by mobs with automatic weapons.

There is no indication that these mobs targeted U.S. citizens. However, the situation remains extremely volatile and the possibility exists that there may be further incidents of violence in which Americans may be caught. U.S. citizens still resident in Tirana are strongly advised to avoid crowds and demonstrations at all costs. Americans should stay indoors and limit travel to the minimum necessary. When moving around, American citizens should exercise extreme caution. U.S. citizens elsewhere in Albania should also exercise extreme caution, avoid demonstrations and crowds, and stay indoors as much as possible. Americans in Albania are strongly urged to register with the Embassy by phone, 355/42/32875, ext. 1620, or by fax, 355/42/32222. Americans are asked to inform the Embassy should they depart Albania. For further information on travel to Albania consult the Department's Consular Information Sheet on Albania.

No. 98-045

This Travel Warning supersedes the Aug. 18 Travel Warning to update the security situation.

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