DOS Discusses Embassy Closings

The following is excerpted from the May 21, 2003 press briefing by State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher:

QUESTION: Hello, Richard. Based on the increase threat of terrorism, do you plan to close more embassies and consulates, even temporarily? If so, where and when?

MR. BOUCHER: We, I think, made clear in our travel advisories – travel warnings -- really going back to September 11th, that, as information appeared, we might find it necessary or appropriate to close embassies and consulates temporarily. Sometimes you have information that you have to take seriously, even though you haven't had time to check it out.

And, therefore, in the interest of prudence, posts will close for a day or two while they checked out the information, or while they added additional security measures, or while they worked with local governments to make sure that everything was in tip-top shape, in terms of security. So that will continue to happen from time to time. But because those decisions are made fairly rapidly on the ground by the embassies themselves, I can't predict in advance. You know, we don't have a schedule that we are going to close an embassy on June 14th. But if on June 13th they get some information that they take seriously, an embassy might decide to close the next day. So it's really that's the kind of decision our ambassadors have the responsibility to make on the ground locally.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 03052742.