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Sudan Tribune

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US warns American travelers of border tension in Eritrea

Dec 9, 2005 (WASHINGTON) — The United States warned American visitors to and residents of Eritrea that the Eritrean government is increasing its scrutiny of foreigners, and it is uncertain whether U.S. Embassy personnel could help an American in trouble.

Tension has been growing on the Eritrea-Ethiopia border, with troop deployments on both sides, the State Department said in a public announcement. It said the agencies of the United Nations sent dependents home last month.

Eritrea, on the Red Sea in the Horn of Africa, was annexed by its southern neighbor Ethiopia in 1962. After a long guerrilla war for liberation, it became independent in 1991. The two countries have been in or near states of war for much of the time since then.

The State Department announcement said the Eritrean government has imposed significant restrictions on the U.N. observer mission on the border, and this week ordered out staff members from the United States, Canada, Europe and Russia.

“Americans traveling to Eritrea should be aware that the government of Eritrea has significantly restricted the travel of diplomatic personnel,” the announcement said. “Consequently, the U.S. Embassy’s ability to assist Americans in Eritrea may be severely limited.”