US orders withdrawal of personnel from Cuban embassy after 'specific attacks'
13:47, Sep 30, 2017
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The US officials acknowledged Cuba's efforts to investigate the attacks, but stressed that under the Vienna Convention, the government has an obligation to protect foreign diplomats on its territory. Who wins from attacking United States and Canadian diplomatic missions in Havana? The American Foreign Service Association told the AP earlier this month that symptoms across the group included brain swelling, loss of balance, severe headaches, and "cognitive disruption".
USA and congressional officials told Reuters on Thursday Washington was crafting a plan for a drawdown of staff from the Havanaembassy in response to unexplained incidents that have harmed the health of some US diplomats there. The Department of State will also issue a travel warning advising Americans not to travel to the country.
"So some U.S. Government personnel who were working at our embassy in Havana, Cuba on official duties - so they were there working on behalf of the U.S. embassy there - they've reported some incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms", she said.
"US embassy personnel are most at risk but. the American public traveling in Cuba might also be at risk as well", a senior State Department official told reporters Friday morning. It was the first highest-level diplomatic contact between the two countries since Donald Trump became US President in January.
"The health, safety, and well-being of our embassy community is our greatest concern", he continued.
Some of the attacks have taken place in Cuban hotels, though no American tourists are known to have been hurt. US citizens should not attempt to go to the USA embassy as it suffered severe flood damage during Hurricane Irma, the State Department said.
In conjunction with the departure of diplomatic personnel, the State Department has issued a travel warning advising USA citizens to avoid travel to Cuba.
Measures are unveiled just days after CubaurgedWashington not to politicize a case of this nature and not to make hasty decisions not supported by evidence and conclusive research results.
"The Department of State warns US citizens not to travel to Cuba". If they want diplomatic relations, then they have to provide a safe environment for it. That includes visa processing for Cubans seeking to visit the US, the officials said. The details have shown that "at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling U.S. officials who say the facts and the physics don't add up".
From January to May this year, 284,565 USA citizens visited the island, a number exceeding the total number of US visitors in 2016, according to official data.
"So far we don't know who these people are, we have not seen photographs of them or their injuries, and nobody knows about the weapon or technology used to perpetrate the attack".
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