USIS Washington 
File

04 March 1998

TEXT: MILITARY FORCES IN "HIGH STATE OF PREPAREDNESS" IN GULF

(American citizens cautioned concerning travel to the region) (550)



Washington -- Until Iraq demonstrates its full compliance with the
United Nations Security Council agreement on the implementation of
UNSC resolutions, "the United States and its coalition allies will
continue to keep their military forces in the Persian Gulf at a high
state of preparedness," the Department of State announced March 3.


As part of its military preparation, the Department of Defense
announced on March 3 that it will begin inoculating military and other
DOD personnel against anthrax, according to the statement from the
Office of the Spokesman.


The Spokesman's office encouraged all Americans to remain informed and
to make their own decisions concerning travel to the region. Those
residing or traveling abroad are also encouraged to contact the
nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for up-to-date information on
security conditions.


Following is the text of the public announcement:



(For more information on this subject, contact our special Iraq
website at:
http://www.usia.gov/iraq)



(Begin text)



PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT



U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Office of the Spokesman



MIDDLE EAST



March 3, 1998



While the United Nations Secretary General has reached an agreement
with Iraq on the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions,
until Iraq's full compliance with that agreement has been
demonstrated, the United States and its coalition allies will continue
to keep their military forces in the Persian Gulf at a high state of
preparedness. As part of its military preparation, the Department of
Defense announced on March 3 that it will begin inoculating military
and other DOD personnel against anthrax.


The best assessment currently available continues to be that there is
a low probability of attack by Iraq and that the possibility of Iraq
resorting to the use of chemical or biological weapons is remote,
however, neither can be excluded.


The U.S. Government is not able to provide vaccinations to the
American public residing in or traveling to the region. There is only
a single source for the vaccine and it is our understanding that
virtually all the vaccine produced is under Defense Department
contract for primarily military use and a small number of other
official uses.


We encourage all Americans to remain informed and to make their own
decisions concerning travel to the region. Detailed information on
anthrax and other chemical/biological agents can be obtained from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) either at the CDC
website (http:\\www.cdc.gov) or via its international travelers
hotline (404-332-4559). Travelers should also consult the Department
of State's Public Announcements, Travel Warnings, Consular Information
Sheets, fact sheet on chemical and biological warfare, and regional
travel brochures, and refer to the Department's advisories on security
awareness overseas. American citizens residing or traveling abroad are
encouraged to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for
up-to-date information on security conditions.


The Department of State continues to monitor the situation closely and
will advise the American community immediately if this assessment
changes. This Public Announcement supplements the February 5
"Worldwide Caution" Public Announcement, and the Middle East and South
Asia Announcement issued February 10. This Public Announcement expires
June 2, 1998.


(End text)