MOFA URGES ROC CITIZENS TO AVOID IRAQ OVER SECURITY CONCERNS
Taipei, April 15 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has issued a travel advisory against Iraq because of the mounting insurgency there, a senior MOFA official said Thursday. "Iraq has been listed as a highly dangerous area in which to travel, " MOFA's West Asian Affairs Department Deputy Director Lin Chin-chung said, adding that local people should not travel to Iraq for the time being.
Lin said the MOFA has crafted a three-level travel warning system for countries that have bad public order, an unstable political situation, backward infrastructure construction and terrorist activities. Under the system, a yellow color means a low-level travel warning, orange means medium-level and red means extremely dangerous. Lin said Iraq falls in the highest-tier category.
In recent weeks, Lin said, many foreign civilians, including humanitarian relief workers, have been kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents and most of those hostages remain unaccounted for.
Quoting MOFA intelligence reports, Lin said that as the United States is scheduled to return governing power to the Iraqi people by June 30, various Iraqi political factions have stepped up preparations to gain power. Many of them have kidnapped foreigners to use as bargaining chips in negotiations with the 12 countries that have deployed peacekeeping forces in Iraq.
Noting that the Iraq situation is not expected to stabilize in the near future, Lin advised local people not to go to Iraq for the time being. No Taiwan expatriates live in Iraq at the moment, he added.
(By Sofia Wu)
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