The State Department’s obligation to U.S. citizens overseas is paramount. As the situation in Libya deteriorated we kept American citizens informed, issuing numerous messages advising them of the potential danger and ultimately, on Feb 20, advising them to depart while commercial flights were still available. When we planned assisted evacuations, we contacted hundreds of Americans in Libya to inform them directly of the details of our evacuation arrangements. Prior to departure from Tripoli, Embassy staff checked the airfield and its environs to ensure that we left behind no one who wished to depart Libya.
Throughout the crisis, we held daily conference calls with crisis management centers from the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand plus the EU to coordinate our efforts to help our citizens depart. Through these means, we assisted Americans in departing on Dutch, British, Canadian, Turkish and other government sponsored evacuations. We led conference calls with companies doing business in Libya to ensure that they coordinated their efforts to evacuate employees and pooled their resources. We insisted that the government of Libya recognize these private efforts as equivalent to government sponsored evacuations. Our efforts to assist Americans in these ways will not cease now that we have suspended operations.
We are unaware of large pockets of Americans who wished to evacuate but did not. However, we are aware that there may be Americans still in Libya that may need assistance departing the country. In order to help, our taskforce will remain up and running to make sure that if there are any Americans remaining, we can assist them.