State Dept. issues Indonesia advisory

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. State Department issued a public announcement telling American citizens traveling to Indonesia or East Timor to exercise extreme caution.

While major tourist destinations in Bali, parts of Sumatra and North Sulawesi have been relatively calm, Indonesia is experiencing a major political transition, and "unrest and violence can erupt with little forewarning," the department said.

There has been a rise in anti-American rhetoric by some national political leaders and extremist groups.

Some foreign travelers in troubled areas have been subject to arbitrary arrest, detention and deportation and, on at least one occasion, false accusations of espionage.

There also have been a number of acts of intimidation and violence directed at American companies and U.S. diplomatic facilities, the department said.

Citing security concerns, the government of Indonesia has restricted the travel of U.S. and other foreign government officials to Aceh, Papua and the Moluccas (provinces of North Maluku and Maluku). American citizens should avoid travel to these regions, according to the State Department.

The announcement advises Americans to " keep a low profile." Americans should avoid large crowds and potential demonstration sites.

Also, it urges travelers to make sure that "passports and important personal papers are in order in the event that it becomes necessary to leave the country quickly."

The State Department also issued a public announcement regarding travel to Egypt.

U.S. citizens are urged to "exercise caution in considering travel to Egypt as well as other areas in the region."

The department said that the possibility exists that extremist groups may be planning terrorist acts in Egypt and in other areas of the region.

It said American citizens should avoid large crowds and demonstrations, maintain a low profile, and take appropriate steps to reduce their vulnerability.

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