U.S. Embassy in Cairo Closes as Civil Unrest Continues

cairoThe New York Times is reporting that Egypt’s top generals have called civilian political leaders to an emergency meeting "just hours" before the deadline they have set for elected President Mohamed Morsi to step down.

And while the world waits to see how the political struggle plays out, various governments are releasing statements with advice for travelers. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo announced that it will be closed to the public and regular consular services are suspended for July 3. "We regret the inconvenience and all applicants’ appointments will be rescheduled," representatives of the Embassy said in an online statement. "If you need an emergency service, please contact the Embassy at 2797-3300. 

"As a matter of general practice, U.S. citizens should avoid areas where large gatherings may occur.  Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.  U.S. citizens in Egypt are urged to monitor local news reports and to plan their activities accordingly.

"The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans and remain alert to their surroundings at all times in Egypt.  For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Internet website where the Worldwide Caution,  Country Specific Information for Egypt, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts, can be found.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes or Google Play to have travel information at your fingertips. 

"Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 

"U.S. citizens are advised to maintain valid travel documents and enroll with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy Cairo through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program website.  If you enroll we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements and can also help your family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 

"For further information, U.S. citizens may call the Embassy’s American Citizens Services Unit at 2797-2301 during business hours, Sunday to Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  Please refer to the American Citizens Services Facebook page at:  www.facebook.com/USEmbassyCairoACS.  For emergencies after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard at 2797-3300.  The Embassy is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo."

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Tourist Authority in New York released its own statement: "Egypt’s Tourism has been closely following the latest developments in Egypt’s domestic political scene, taking into consideration that such political developments are of temporary nature and are quite expected during this transition of the Egyptian revolution.

"The Ministry of Tourism takes this opportunity to reassure to its international tourism partners as well as its guests that these political developments do not affect services rendered to tourists. 

"The Ministry of Tourism – once again – expresses its leverage to all measures to further develop and sustain this important industry; welcoming tourists to Egypt."

ETurboNews reported that the Egypt Minister of Tourism, Hisham Zaazou, resigned earlier this week along with four of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's cabinet members. At the same time, the U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning for the country.