As Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, I want you to know that the Department of State is very focused on the safety and security of U.S. citizens living and visiting in Egypt.
State Department personnel at our Embassy in Cairo and here in the United States are working round-the-clock to ensure the safety our Americans. We’re monitoring the situation on the ground in Egypt, communicating information and implementing crisis response plans. We are communicating via our website, emails, call centers, social media, radio and television to get information out to U.S. citizens on the ground in Egypt who are understandably worried. We are sending additional consular personnel to Egypt to augment our Embassy staff. Charter flights out of Cairo will begin tomorrow.
We are aware that not all U.S. citizens have internet or cell phone service in Egypt. We do know that many Americans are in contact with friends and family outside of Egypt. Because of communications interruptions, we ask that family and friends in the United States assist us by relaying information to their loved ones in Egypt directly. The most up-to-date information – including evacuation instructions – can be found on our website at travel.state.gov.
The U.S. Department of State is arranging transportation to safe haven locations in Europe. This assistance will be provided on a reimbursable basis, as required by U.S. law. U.S. citizens who travel on U.S. government–arranged transport will be expected to make their own onward travel plans. We expect initial flights to go into Athens, Istanbul and Nicosia, Cyprus. Consular personnel at those locations will be available to help citizens make their arrangements for lodging and onward travel.
The charter flights are not intended to supplant Americans’ existing commercial travel plans. Citizens with ticketed flights should contact their airlines. All U.S. citizen travelers, their spouses and children are required to have valid travel documents.
Again, you can find the most up-to-date information at travel.state.gov. Thank you for helping us communicate with U.S. citizens in Egypt. When you reach them, please assure them that their government is focused on their welfare and safety.