US suspends embassy operations in Central African Republic
From Lalit K Jha
Washington, Dec 28 (PTI) The United States today evacuated its embassy and temporarily halted its operations in the Central African Republic, amidst escalation of violence in the African nation between government and rebels forces.
"The US Embassy in Bangui temporarily suspended its operations on December 28 as a result of the present security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). We have not suspended diplomatic relations with the Central African Republic," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.
US Ambassador Lawrence D Wohlers and his diplomatic team left Bangui today along with several private US citizens.
"As a result of this suspension of operations, the embassy will not be able to provide routine consular services to American citizens in the Central African Republic until further notice," Ventrell said.
"This decision is solely due to concerns about the security of our personnel and has no relation to our continuing and long-standing diplomatic relations with the CAR," the spokesperson said.
The US encourages all parties in the Central African Republic to participate in the dialogue to be held under the auspices of the Economic Community of Central African States to develop a comprehensive agreement that will offer a new vision of peace and security for the country, he said.
The State Department issued a travel advisory warning US citizens against all travel to the Central African Republic at this time.
"As a result of the deteriorating security situation, the US Embassy in Bangui suspended its operations on December 28, 2012, and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to US citizens in the Central African Republic," it said.
"US citizens who have decided to stay in CAR should review their personal security situation and seriously consider departing, taking advantage of commercial flights," the advisory said.
The US decision comes amid mounting fears that President Francois Bozize''s government is facing defeat by a marching army of rebels.
The rebels have seized four regional centers, including a diamond mining hub, since they took up arms on December 10.