On 15 February 2008, the U.S. Department of State issued the following Travel Warning: “This Travel Warning is being updated to inform American citizens of recent attempts to assassinate the President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor) and the continuing potential for violence, and to urge American citizens to defer non-essential 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 September 12, 2007.
“On February 11, 2008, armed rebels attempted to assassinate President Jose Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. The President was shot at his home and evacuated to Australia for medical treatment, and the Prime Minister was unharmed.
“The Department of State advises U.S. citizens of the continuing potential for violent civil unrest in Timor-Leste. The situation could deteriorate without warning and foreigners may be specifically targeted. U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to Timor-Leste at this time. Those already in Timor-Leste should exercise extreme caution, limit movements to the greatest 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 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.”
Montenegro (Country threat level – 3): On 15 February 2008, the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica issued the following Warden Message: “Due to heightened political activity in the region, local gatherings and events, both official and unofficial, may be potentially large and could pose security risks for onlookers and participants. Businesses and organizations with U.S. affiliations may serve as focal points for demonstrations, especially in the event of a declaration of independence by Kosovo. American citizens are strongly urged to avoid crowds, keep a low profile, and maintain security awareness. U.S. Government personnel were advised to consider deferring travel to areas known to have a significant pro-Serb or pro-Albanian population at this time. American citizens may wish to take this information into consideration when making their own travel plans. Embassy Podgorica will advise further as circumstances warrant.
“We wish to remind American citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations.”
Serbia (Country threat level – 4): On 17 February 2008, the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade issued the following Warden Message: “Serbia is in a period of heightened political activity following the declaration of independence by Kosovo. Local gatherings and events, both official and unofficial, may be potentially large and could pose security risks for onlookers and participants. Businesses and organizations with U.S. affiliations may serve as focal points for these demonstrations. American citizens are strongly urged to avoid crowds and maintain security awareness. Embassy Belgrade will advise further as circumstances warrant.”
Zimbabwe (Country threat level – 5): On 15 February 2008, the U.S. Department of State issued the following Travel Alert: “This Travel Alert is being issued to inform U.S. citizens of safety and security concerns related to the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe scheduled for Saturday, 29 March 2008. This Travel Alert expires on 1 May 2008.
“The national election season in Zimbabwe may pose a security threat to U.S. citizens in Zimbabwe. Previous elections in 2000, 2002 and 2005 were contentious and sparked food, water and fuel shortages, as well as occasional outbreaks of violence. Given the present, significantly weaker, Zimbabwean economy, chronic hyperinflation, and ongoing shortages, the 2008 election season has the potential to generate widespread instability and violence.
“Demonstrations and general unrest may occur during this period. The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens who live, work, or are traveling in Zimbabwe to maintain a high level of vigilance. Avoid visiting high-density suburbs, industrial zones, and unfamiliar areas. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid potentially threatening events such as demonstrations, rallies, or other public gatherings. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.”