State Dept. issues cautions on October travel

WASHINGTON -- The State Department urged travelers to defer nonessential travel to the west African republic of Cote d'Ivoire, noting that the government declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew throughout the country in anticipation of the presidential election on Oct. 22.

Separately, the department recommended that travelers to Tanzania limit travel to Zanzibar Island and avoid Pemba Island during the period leading up to and immediately following Tanzania's Oct. 29 national elections.

U.S. citizens remaining on Zanzibar Island and Pemba Island should maintain a high level of vigilance, avoid political rallies, avoid traveling alone and carry their passports at all times, it said.

Updating a consular information sheet, the department reminded travelers to the Republic of Georgia to steer clear of the separatist-controlled region of Abkhazia.

Due to kidnapping and banditry, travelers to Georgia should avoid the Pankisi Gorge north of Akhmeta; northern mountainous areas that border on Chechnya, Dagestan and Svaneti; travel to South Ossetia, and travel along the Georgian Military Highway north of the Gudauri ski resort, it advised.

The consular sheet also reported that power outages at the airport at Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, occasionally briefly disable the guidance beacon, forcing visual flight landings.

Substantially revamped was the consular information sheet for Russia, warning travelers to stay away from Chechnya and all areas bordering Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya and Kabardino-Balkariya.

The new sheet updated Russian entry and exit procedures, the crime situation, road conditions, customs regulations, currency and other matters.

For the complete consular sheet, visit travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html.

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