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Monrovia - US Embassy

US relations with the Liberian regime of President Charles Taylor are strained and likely to remain so for some time. However, the United States has long-term interests in Liberia that justify a continued official presence and active efforts to promote democracy and improved bilateral relations. The U.S. Embassy in Monrovia has engaged actively with the Liberian government, the private sector, and the public on U.S. policy issues. However, its efforts are constrained by host government hostility. In spite of some responsiveness from the government in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the security situation for the embassy and private Americans in Monrovia remains precarious. Security concerns and political obstacles on official U.S. activity in Liberia should keep Embassy Monrovia limited to fewer than 31 Americans for the foreseeable future. The embassy has experienced serious staffing gaps over the last several years, and the Department needs to fill vacant positions, giving priority to the public affairs and consular positions. Embassy Monrovia provides full consular services. This is too much of a burden for one consular officer. The Department needs either to reinstate the vice consul position eliminated this summer or to reduce significantly the range of consular services provided at the embassy.

Embassy Monrovia has unique property assets that provide more capacity than is needed at the present with bilateral relations constrained. However, the State Department decided against disposing of any property. The property is a valuable future resource, and, during this period of uncertain circumstances, it provides a secure base and essential services that are not otherwise available. The Department and the embassy undertook a new design study of the main compound and examine ways that a subsidiary compound might be effectively used to defray expenses and promote US policy objectives until more extensive US government operations resume.

During the 1980s, the US used Liberia as a staging ground in efforts to counter socialist and Marxist regimes in Africa. The Voice of America had a major relay station near Monrovia, along with a large Omega navigation tower, and the main CIA station in Africa was said to be located at the US Embassy compound.

Fred Bass, the owner of popular TV and radio stations in Liberia, is a founding member of Liberia's first opposition party. The United Peoples Party was one of 13 which contested the 1997 elections. "They do not know how to live with us," he says of Americans, referring to the fortress-like American Embassy, where American staff live and work. [SOURCE]

US citizens are strongly encouraged to register and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Liberia at the Consular Section of the US Embassy at 111 United Nations Drive, Mamba Point, Monrovia, Liberia, tel. (231) 226-370, fax (231) 226-148. US citizens who wish to write to the US Embassy may address letters to the Consular Section, Monrovia Place, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-8800.

Due to the security situation, the ability of the US Embassy to provide direct Consular assistance to US citizens outside of the Monrovia area is severely limited. The lack of a working nationwide telephone system or reliable means of communication complicates efforts to establish or maintain contact in the capital city or communicate at all with anyone in the rural areas.

Greystone Compound

The Greystone Compound is next to the Embassy compound. The Greystone compound is not part of the secured perimeter of the US Embassy. The Greystone Compound is an annex of the embassy, located about 100 to 150 yards (meters) away from the main US compound. Located about a four or five minutes' walk from the Embassy, the housing compound goes by the name of the Greystone Compound.

The fighting in early 1996 displaced at least 80,000 people in the Monrovia area, with over 20,000 now seeking shelter in the Greystone compound of the US Embassy since fighting began again on April 29. Intermittent fighting in the Mamba Point area disrupted the daily delivery of chlorinated drinking water to Greystone. In addition, the water supply for all of Monrovia was insufficient due to a mechanical breakdown at the White Plains water facility. On 17 May 1996, WFP delivered 63 metric tons (MT) of food to the Mamba Point area for distribution to the Greystone compound. By June 1996 a large majority of those made homeless by the fighting had returned to their homes, although many whose homes were destroyed remain in displaced persons centers, including about 4,500 persons in the Embassy's Greystone Compound.

In July 2003 as many as 25 people were killed when mortar shells fell on the nearby Greystone compound, a residential annex to the embassy, where thousands of displaced people had sought refuge. In another incident, two rocket-propelled grenades hit the Greystone compound across from the US Embassy, killing several Liberians.

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Old Monrovia

Digitalglobe imagery overview of Monrovia. The International Organizations compound including the US Embassy are outlined in red.

Several international organizations are located in the compound shown above.

The US embassy and Helipad used for evacuation of embassy personal.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:53:19 ZULU