Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

US orders staff to leave Egypt

Fireworks light the sky in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt(AP/Amr Nabil)

The US State Department has ordered non-essential American diplomats and the families of all US Embassy personnel to leave Egypt after the Egyptian military removed President Mohammed Morsi and in anticipation of potential violence.

An official said the State Department had placed the US Embassy in Cairo on "ordered departure" status for non-emergency staff and dependents of all employees. That means that those covered by the order are required to leave the country.

It was not immediately clear if an evacuation operation would be mounted or if those departing would use commercial airlines or passenger ships to leave.

Meanwhile a US-based international education and training organisation said it was evacuating 18 Arabic language programme students from Egypt to Morocco.

Armine Poghikyan, of the non-profit American Councils for International Education in Washington DC, said participants in the Arabic Overseas Flagship Programme arrived on June 21 at Alexandria University for what was to be a year of studies.

Officials decided the programme needed to move to Moulay Ismail University in Meknes, Morocco, and the students will leave by the end of the week.

Eight other University of Michigan students also will be evacuated from The American University in Cairo, the University of Michigan said. The seven undergraduate students and one graduate student are expected to leave the city and ultimately return to the United States.

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