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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 7, 1999


U.S. Ports Closed to Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Vessels

National security interests require that measures be taken on an ongoing basis to control the access of certain foreign flag vessels to U.S. ports and territorial waters. The principal objective of this control has been and remains the protection of U.S. vessels, ports, harbors and waterfront facilities from sabotage or other unlawful activities. In addition, the specific measures taken protect sensitive operations and defense facilities in waterfront areas from espionage and foreign intelligence gathering.

In light of the ongoing NATO military operations being conducted in relation to the crisis in Kosovo, effective April 5, vessels flying the flag or under the effective control of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) are prohibited from entering U.S. ports and territorial waters, subject to certain exceptions covering emergency circumstances and the right of innocent passage. Any such FRY vessels currently in U.S. ports or territorial waters will be directed to leave by the Coast Guard.

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