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Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 05:31 GMT
US allows staff to quit Jordan
Investigators dust Mr Foley's car for fingerprints
The US diplomat was shot dead outside his home
The United States is to allow non-essential diplomatic personnel to leave Jordan amid heightened concerns over security.

The US State Department also urged Americans to reconsider any plans to travel to Jordan.


We strongly believe that Jordan is still one of the safest and most secure countries in the world

Mohammad Adwan, Jordanian minister
The move follows the still unsolved killing of US diplomat Laurence Foley in the capital, Amman, last month.

Jordan said it "regretted" the US decision but added that relations between the two countries were "excellent".

The State Deprtment has issued a spate of warnings to US citizens abroad, including two "worldwide cautions" this month.

Prudent measure

State Department deputy spokesman Phillip Reeker said: "We think it's a prudent measure designed to allow some embassy employees and dependents to depart post, should they decide to do so".

Foley receiving achievement award from US Ambassador Edward Gnehm
Mr Foley (left) had worked for USAID since 1988

Under the so-called "authorised departure" scheme, non-essential diplomats and the families of embassy employees are allowed to return home at Washington's expense.

The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, explained the move to Jordan's King Abdullah, who was "understanding," Mr Reeker said.

But Jordan's Minister of State for Political Affairs, Mohammad Adwan, insisted that "Jordan is still one of the safest and most secure countries in the world that protects all its foreign guests".

Shot dead

Mr Foley, a US Agency for International Development (USAID) official, was gunned down outside his home in west Amman on 28 Ocotber.

Nobody has been arrested in connection with the killing and the motive remains unknown.

Earlier this week, Mr Reeker praised the Jordanian authorities for their investigations.

"Jordanian security forces have been making extraordinary efforts and we've been working closely with them to investigate that killing and also to provide protection for Americans in Jordan," he said.

"We're very confident of those efforts, that they will ultimately be successful and bring to justice the murderer or murderers of Mr Foley."

Mr Reeker said there had been no specific threats against Americans in Jordan since Mr Foley's death, but the State Department said there was a general threat against US citizens in the Middle East and North Africa as a whole.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Fergal Parkinson
"The Jordanian authorities...are likely to be embarrassed by the move"
See also:

19 Nov 02 | Middle East
14 Nov 02 | Middle East
30 Oct 02 | Middle East
29 Oct 02 | Middle East
28 Oct 02 | Middle East
28 Oct 02 | Middle East
08 Oct 02 | Country profiles
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