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Taken Questions
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 10, 2003
Question Taken at February 10, 2003 Daily Press Briefing

Middle Eastern Travel Warning-Related Departures

Question: Can you estimate how many people have left the Middle East region since the issuance of your Travel Warnings noting Authorized Departure status and urging Americans to depart those affected countries?

Answer: There is no way of monitoring the number of private American citizens who have voluntarily departed those countries in the Middle East for which Travel Warnings were recently issued. Due to security concerns, we cannot release the number of American citizens, both private and official, residing in the region. We continue to encourage American citizens in those countries to consult the information available in our Travel Warnings, Public Announcements and Consular Information Sheets at www.travel.state.gov, evaluate carefully their own security situations and take appropriate action, including the consideration for departure.

Among the highest priorities of the Department of State and our missions abroad is the safety and security of Americans overseas. We have made decisions regarding the reduction of staffing at several of our Missions in the Middle East and have notified the American public, both abroad and domestically, of these decisions though the Consular Information Program and the local Embassy Warden systems.

Each Travel Warning is tailored specifically for each individual country. The American citizen communities in each country have been made aware of the appropriate information though the Embassy Warden systems. We urge all Americans in the region to consider the information available in our Travel Warnings, the Worldwide Caution and Middle East and North Africa Public Announcements, and Consular Information Sheets, and take appropriate action with regard to their personal safety and security.

Released on February 10, 2003

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