Official Name: Ukraine
Area: 233,000 sq. mi..
Cities: Capital-- Kiev (pop. 2.6 million). Other cities--Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, Lviv.
Terrain: A vast plan bounded by the Carpathian mountains in the southwest and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Oziv in the South.
Climate: Continental temperate.
Population (est.): 52 million.
Nationality: Noun--Ukrainian(s); adjective--Ukrainian.
Ethnic groups: Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, Belarusians, Moldovans, Bulgarians, Poles, Hungarians, Romanians, Crimean Tatars.
Religions: Ukrainian Orthodoxy, Ukrainian Greek Catholicism, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Islam
Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, others.
Health: Infant mortality rate--21/1,000. Life expectancy--65 yrs. males, 75 yrs. females.
Work force: 24 million. Industry and construction--33%. Agriculture and forestry--21%. Health, education, and culture--16%. Transport and communication--7%.
Independence: August 24, 1991.
Constitution: First post-Soviet constitution adopted June 28, 1996.
Branches: Executive--president, prime minister, cabinet. Legislative--450-member parliament, the Supreme Rada (members elected to four-year terms). Judicial--people's courts, regional courts, Supreme Court, and Constitutional Court.
Political parties: wide range of active political parties, from leftist (communist and socialist) to center and center-right (Liberal, Democratic, Rukh, and Republican) to ultra-nationalist (UNA and OUN).
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
Administrative subdivisions: 24 provinces and 1 autonomous republic.
GDP (est): $204 billion.
Annual growth rate: -14.2%.
Per capita income: $3,900.
Natural resources: Vast fertile lands, coal, natural gas, various large mineral deposits, timber.
Agriculture: Products--Grain, sugar.
Industry: Types--Ferrous metals and products, coke, fertilizer, metallurgical equipment, diesel locomotives, tractors.
Trade: Exports--$12.7 billion: coal, electric power, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, chemicals, machinery, and transport equipment. Imports--$15.3 billion: Machinery and parts, transportation equipment, chemicals, textiles.
The population of Ukraine is about 52 million, which represents about 18% of the population of the former Soviet Union. Ukrainians make up about 73% of the total; ethnic Russians number about 20%. The industrial regions in the east and southeast are the most heavily populated, and the urban population makes up about 70% of the population. Ukrainian and Russian are the principal languages, but about 88% of the population consider Ukrainian their native language. The dominant religions are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, much of which retains its links to the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kiev Patriarchate) is independent of Moscow.
The birth rate of Ukraine is diminishing. About 70% of adult Ukrainians have a secondary or higher education. Ukraine has about 150 colleges and universities, of which the most important are at Kiev, Lviv, and Kharkiv. About 70,000 scholars in 80 research institutes make Ukraine a leader in science and technology.
The first identifiable groups to populate what is now Ukraine were Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, and Goths, among other nomadic peoples who arrived throughout the first millennium B.C. These people were well known to colonists and traders in the ancient world, including Greeks and Romans, who established trading outposts which eventually became city states. Slavic tribes occupied central and eastern Ukraine in the sixth century A.D. and played an important role in the establishment of Kiev. Situated on lucrative trade routes, Kiev quickly prospered as the center of a powerful state of Kievan Rus. In the 11th century, Kievan Rus was, geographically, the largest state in Europe.
A Christian missionary, Cyril, converted the Kievan nobility and most of the population in 988. Conflict among the feudal lords led to decline in the 12th century. Kiev was razed by Mongol raiders in the 12th century.
Most of the territory was annexed by Poland and Lithuania in the 14th century, but during that time, the Ukrainian people began to conceive of themselves as a distinct people, a feeling which survived subsequent partitioning by greater powers over the next centuries. In addition, Ukrainian peasants who fled the Polish effort to force them into servitude came to be known as Cossacks and earned a reputation for their fierce martial spirit.
In 1667, Ukraine was partitioned between Poland and Russia. In 1793, it was reunited as part of the Russian Empire.
The 19th century found the region largely agricultural, with a few cities and centers of trade and learning. The region was under the control of the Austrians in the extreme west and of the Russians elsewhere. Ukrainian writers and intellectuals were inspired by the nationalistic spirit stirring other European peoples existing under other imperial governments and were determined to revive Ukrainian linguistic and cultural traditions and re-establish a Ukrainian nation-state. The Russians in particular imposed strict limits on attempts to elevate Ukrainian language and culture, even banning its use and study.
When World War I and the Bolshevik revolution in Russia shattered the Hapsburg and Russian empires, Ukrainians declared independent statehood. In 1917 and 1918, three separate Ukrainian republics declared independence. However, by 1921, the western part of the traditional territory had been incorporated into Poland, and the larger, central and eastern part became part of the Soviet Union.
The Ukrainian national idea persevered during the interwar years, and Soviet reaction was severe, particularly under Stalin, who imposed terror campaigns, which ravaged the intellectual class. He also created artificial famines as part of his forced collectivization policies, which killed millions of previously independent peasants and others throughout the country. Estimates of deaths from the 1932-33 famine alone range from 3 million to 7 million.
After the German and Soviet invasions of Poland in 1939, the western Ukrainian regions were incorporated into the Soviet Union. When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, many Ukrainians, particularly in the west, welcomed them, but this did not last. German brutality was directed principally against Ukraine's Jews (of whom 1 million were killed) but also against many other Ukrainians. Kiev and other parts of the country were heavily damaged. Some Ukrainians began to resist the Germans as well as the Soviets. Resistance against Soviet Government forces continued as late as the 1950s.
Little changed for Ukraine over the next decades. During periods of relative liberalization--as under Nikita Khrushchev from 1955 to 1964--Ukrainian communists pursued national objectives. In the years of perestroika, under U.S.S.R. President Mikhail Gorbachev, national goals were again advanced by Ukrainian officials.
Ukraine became an independent state on August 24, 1991, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and was a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Ukraine is a parliamentary democracy with separate executive, judicial, and legislative branches. The president nominates the prime minister, who must be confirmed by the parliament. The 450-member parliament (Supreme Rada) initiates legislation, ratifies international agreements, and approves the budget. Its members were elected to four-year terms in 1994. Following free elections held on December 1, 1991, Leonid M. Kravchuk, former Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, was elected president for a five-year term. At the same time, a referendum on independence was approved by more than 90% of the voters.
Political groupings in Ukraine include former communists, socialists, agrarians, nationalists and various centrist and independent forces.
Shortly after becoming independent, Ukraine named a parliamentary commission to prepare a new constitution, adopted a multi-party system, and adopted legislative guarantees of civil and political rights for national minorities. A new, democratic constitution was adopted on June 28, 1996, which mandates a pluralistic political system with protection of basic human rights and liberties.
Freedom of religion is guaranteed by law, although religious organizations are required to register with local authorities and with the central government. Minority rights are respected in accordance with a 1991 law guaranteeing ethnic minorities the right to schools and cultural facilities and the use of national languages in conducting personal business. In Crimea and eastern Ukraine--areas with significant Russian minorities--Russian is permitted as a language of official correspondence. It is also recognized as an official language in Crimea.
Ethnic tensions in Crimea during 1992 prompted a number of pro-Russian political organizations to advocate secession of Crimea and annexation to Russia. (Crimea was ceded to Ukraine in 1954, as a gift from Khrushchev to mark the 300th anniversary of Ukrainian union with Russia.) In July 1992, the Crimean and Ukrainian parliaments determined that Crimea would remain under Ukrainian jurisdiction while retaining significant cultural and economic autonomy.
Crimea held its first presidential elections in January 1994, electing Yuriy Meshkov, a Republican Party of Crimea member advocating closer ties to Russia. The results of a non-binding poll on March 27, 1994, demonstrated voters' overwhelming support for greater powers for Meshkov, dual Russian-Ukrainian citizenship for Crimeans, and a treaty to govern relations between Crimea and Ukraine on a more equal basis. However, on March 17, 1995, the Rada abolished the 1992 Crimean constitution and dissolved the local presidency.
Official trade unions have been grouped under the Federation of Trade Unions. A number of independent unions, which emerged during 1992, have formed the Consultative Council of Free Trade Unions. While the right to strike is legally guaranteed, strikes based solely on political demands are prohibited. A National Mediation and Reconciliation Service exists to regulate disputes between management and labor which cannot be resolved at the enterprise level. A new law on trade unions is under consideration.
In July 1994, Leonid Kuchma was elected as Ukraine's second president in free and fair elections. Earlier, in March 1994, Ukraine elected its first post-independence parliament. The next elections are scheduled for March 1998 (parliamentary) and October 1999 (presidential).
Security forces are controlled by the president, although they are subject to investigation by a permanent parliamentary commission. Surveillance is permitted for reasons of national security.
Ukraine has established its own military forces of about 500,000 from the troops and equipment inherited from the former Soviet Union. It aims to reduce the force to between 250,000-300,000 by the end of the decade; considerable downsizing already has taken place.
Principal Government Officials
Acting Prime Minister--Vasyl Durdynets
Foreign Minister--Hennadiy Udovenko
Ukraine maintains an embassy at 3350 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-333-0606)
Ukraine has many of the components of a major European economy--rich farmlands, a well-developed industrial base, highly trained labor, and a good education system. Significant difficulties lie ahead, however. At present, the economy is in poor condition. While hyperinflation has been tamed, production continues to drop, and the standard of living for most citizens has declined more than 50% since the early 1990's. The new Ukrainian currency, the Hryvnia, was introduced in September 1996, and remained fairly stable.
Most Ukrainian trade is still with countries of the former Soviet Union, principally Russia. Demand for Ukraine's non-agricultural exports-- ferrous metals, steel pipe, machinery, and transport equipment-- continues to fall. Forced to pay high prices for fuel, Ukraine continues to run large trade deficits.
Ukraine imports 90% of its oil and most of its natural gas from Russia, though it is trying to find alternative sources. The Ukrainian authorities have been introducing market-price payment requirements for energy supplies to industry and homes in an effort to establish a "real cost" system of energy supply and payment.
In early 1995, the government began to implement an ambitious privatization program which should transfer ownership of 8,000 medium and large-scale enterprises to private hands. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $1.5-billion stand-by arrangement with the Government of Ukraine which should serve as the basis for continuing comprehensive economic reform.
Ukraine encourages foreign trade and investment. The parliament has approved a foreign investment law allowing Westerners to purchase businesses and property, to repatriate revenue and profits, and to receive compensation in the event that property is nationalized by a future government.
Ukraine is rich in natural resources. It has a major ferrous metal industry, producing cast iron, steel, and steel pipe, and its chemical industry produces coke, mineral fertilizers, and sulfuric acid. Manufactured goods include metallurgical equipment, diesel locomotives, and tractors.
It also is a major producer of grain and sugar and possesses a broad industrial base, including much of the former U.S.S.R.'s space industry. Although oil reserves are largely exhausted, it has important energy sources, such as coal and natural gas, and large mineral deposits.
In 1992, Ukraine became a member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It is a member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development but not a member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization.
Ukraine is interested in cooperating on regional environmental issues. Conservation of natural resources is a high priority. It established its first nature preserve, Askanyia-Nova, in 1921 and has a program to breed endangered species.
However, the country has significant environmental problems resulting from the Chornobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986 and from industrial pollution. Ukraine has announced that the Chornobyl Atomic Energy Station will be phased out and shut down by the year 2000; it has asked for financial help to achieve this goal and to provide alternative sources of energy for its population.
Ukraine also has established a Ministry of Environment and has introduced a pollution fee system that levies taxes on air and water emissions and solid waste disposal. The resulting revenues are channeled to environmental protection activities, but enforcement of this pollution fee system is lax.
Through contacts with the countries of the West, Ukraine seeks to increase consultation and cooperation in areas such as defense planning; the conversion of defense production to civilian purposes; and scientific, economic, and environmental issues.
Despite a November 1990 agreement to respect one another's sovereignty and territorial integrity, Ukraine's relations with Russia have been strained due to its concern over Russia's intentions. Although Ukraine became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on December 8, 1991, it refused in January 1993 to endorse a draft charter strengthening political, economic, and defense ties among CIS members. Relations with Russia have improved somewhat with the late May signing of the bilateral Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. Also, the two sides have signed a series of agreements on the final division and disposition of the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet.
On January 31, 1992, Ukraine joined the then-Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (now the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe--OSCE), and on March 10, 1992, it became a member of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. Ukraine also is an active member of Partnership for Peace. A document on "distinct relations" between NATO and Ukraine is to be signed this July in Madrid.
Soviet Ukraine joined the United Nations in 1945 as one of the original members following a Western compromise with the former Soviet Union, which had asked for seats for all 15 of its union republics. Ukraine consistently has supported peaceful, negotiated settlements to disputes. It has participated in the quadripartite talks on the conflict in Moldova and has sent a battalion to serve with UN peace-keeping forces in the former Yugoslavia.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 brought an end to the Cold War and created the opportunity to build bilateral relations with the New Independent States (NIS) as they began a political and economic transformation. On December 25, 1991, the United States officially recognized the independence of Ukraine. It upgraded its consulate in the capital, Kiev, to embassy status on January 21, 1992. The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine is William Green Miller, sworn in on October 13, 1993.
The United States attaches great importance to the success of Ukraine's transition to a democratic state with a flourishing market economy. Following a period of economic decline characterized by high inflation and a continued reliance on state controls, the Ukrainian Government under the leadership of then newly elected President Leonid Kuchma began taking steps in the fall of 1994 to reinvigorate economic reform and achieve macro- economic stabilization. The Ukrainian Government's new determination to implement comprehensive economic reform is a welcome development, and the U.S. is committed to strengthening its support for Ukraine as it embarks on this difficult path.
In January 1992, the U.S. initiated the Coordinating Conference on Assistance to the New Independent States in response to the humanitarian emergencies facing these states. The resulting Operation Provide Hope supplied desperately needed food, fuel, medicine, and shelter.
A cornerstone for the continuing U.S. partnership with Ukraine and the other NIS has been the Freedom for Russia and Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets (FREEDOM) Support Act, enacted in October 1992. In September 1993, a new $2.45-billion assistance package for the NIS, funded with a combination of fiscal year (FY) 1993 and 1994 supplemental appropriations, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. The legislation continues to address political and economic transformation and humanitarian needs.
The U.S. has consistently encouraged Ukraine's transition to a free, democratic society with a prosperous market economy. The U.S. and Ukraine have signed a series of bilateral agreements designed to enhance economic, technical, environmental, and cultural cooperation. During the visit of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk to Washington on March 3-5, 1994, he and President Clinton reached agreement on an expanded economic assistance package that will provide up to $700 million to Ukraine: $350 million in technical and humanitarian assistance in FY 1994 funds; and $350 million in Nunn-Lugar funds (FY 1992-95 funds) to assist with nuclear dismantlement, non-proliferation programs, and industrial partnerships. Since 1994, Ukraine has become one of the largest recipients in the world of U.S. assistance.
Assistance To Support the Transition to a Market Economy. U.S. technical assistance to support the transition to a market economy has focused primarily on economic restructuring, development of the private sector, and energy sector reform. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) printed millions of certificates to support Ukraine's plan for the mass privatization of state enterprises. U.S. advisers have provided technical assistance in financial sector reform, tax policy and administration, bankers' training, land legislation, small-scale and municipal services privatization, agricultural development and agribusiness, corporatization of the electric power sector, energy pricing and efficiency, and public education concerning the environment. The Western NIS Enterprise Fund, announced by President Clinton in January 1994 to promote private sector business development in Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus, has begun operations in Kiev.
The U.S. also has played a leading role in mobilizing international support to help Ukraine cover its external financing gaps as it implements rigorous reform under IMF programs. The U.S. contribution of $100 million in late 1994 and pledge of $250 million in March 1995 helped leverage nearly $5 billion in IMF and other bilateral financing and debt relief.
U.S. exchanges and training programs have enabled Ukrainians to participate in a broad range of programs in the U.S. These include coal mine safety, nuclear reactor safety, private land ownership and real estate markets, local government finance, banking, tax accounting, labor statistics, telecommunications, labor-management relations, promotion of agricultural development, security and defense conversion, international trade and investment, entrepreneurship and small business development, and public health and hospital management and finance. Three medical partnerships have been established between U.S. and Ukrainian medical institutions. Peace Corps volunteers are working in Ukraine with a focus on small business development and English teaching.
Funding also has been provided for studies in air traffic control and airport construction, establishment of an agricultural center to provide training on U.S. agricultural equipment, and the conversion of a coal- fired power plant to gas. The U.S. has also provided grain storage facilities.
Assistance To Support the Transition to Democracy. The U.S. is promoting Ukraine's democratic transition by supporting programs on participatory political systems, independent media, rule of law, local governance, and civil society, as well as a wide range of exchanges and training.
USAID has provided Ukraine with technical assistance related to elections, the development of political parties and grass-roots civic organizations, and the development of independent media. A USAID-funded rule-of-law consortium has been working with Ukrainian officials and non-profit organizations to create a legal system supportive of a democratic government and a market-based economy. The rule-of-law project has been further expanded to promote cooperation between U.S. law enforcement agencies and their Ukrainian counterparts to reform the criminal justice system.
As of April 1995, the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) has brought nearly 800 Ukrainians to the U.S. on academic exchanges. About 90 Ukrainian business people, journalists, local government officials, and other professionals have participated in other exchanges. USIA visitor program participants included then-presidential candidate Leonid Kuchma in April 1994. USIA visitor programs have highlighted such subjects as economic and education reform, rule of law, and public administration.
The Department of Commerce's Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) program and the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Cochran Fellowship Program have brought nearly 100 business executives, scientists, and agriculturists to the U.S. for internships and training programs.
Support for the Social Sector. The U.S. is assisting Ukraine's efforts to maximize equity in reform and to sustain social welfare and stability during and beyond the transition. Toward this end, USAID is providing assistance to local governments in redefining the roles of the public and private sectors in providing social services to allow government to focus limited resources on key social sectors. Training and technical assistance is being provided to Ukrainian institutions and government agencies on reforms of health care financing and delivery of medical services. A number of medical partnerships between U.S. and Ukrainian health care institutions have been established to improve both patient care and institutional management. Also, USAID is providing training and technical assistance on ways to improve reproductive health, focusing on providing family planning services and reducing the use of abortion.
Humanitarian Assistance. Through the first half of FY 1995, the U.S. has coordinated and funded the delivery of $33 million in food, medical supplies, and clothing to Ukraine. This includes a $16-million surplus Department of Defense hospital recently delivered to Donetsk. Previously, the U.S. provided $25,000 in response to the January 1994 flood disaster in Ukraine's Zakarpatska oblast. In October 1993, $25,000 was provided in international disaster funding for the drilling of water wells in the flood-stricken area of Rivne.
Operation Provide Hope has delivered food worth about $46,000 and medicines and medical supplies worth $16 million. A large portion of these supplies were designated for hospitals treating victims of the Chornobyl nuclear accident. Under the Medical Assistance Initiative, Project HOPE, a private voluntary organization, has shipped more than $26 million worth of pharmaceutical and medical supplies to Ukraine.
In response to an epidemic of diphtheria, the U.S. sent two assessment advisers from the Centers for Disease Control and vaccines, syringes, and needles with a value of $1.3 million under the Emergency Medicines Initiative. Under the Emergency Immunization Program, through Project HOPE, measles vaccine was provided, allowing for the vaccination of all Ukrainian children up to two years of age during 1993. In response to a 1994 request from the Ukrainian Government, the U.S. provided diphtheria vaccines for adults and children to help Ukraine eradicate this deadly disease. In FY 1994, USDA provided Ukraine with more than 70,000 metric tons of food aid--valued at about $24 million--and, in FY 1995, it will provide $25 million in PL 480 assistance.
Bilateral Trade Issues
The U.S.-Ukraine Trade Agreement, effective June 22, 1992, provides reciprocal most-favored-nation tariff treatment to the products of each country. Since January 1994, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has approved investment insurance totaling more than $23 million for three projects in Ukraine. OPIC also has sponsored conferences and exchanges to encourage joint ventures between U.S. and Ukrainian companies. U.S. Export-Import Bank programs are currently closed in Ukraine, but the bank is continuing to reassess Ukraine's creditworthiness in light of recent government economic reforms with a view to reopening lending activities as soon as possible. In March 1994, Presidents Clinton and Kravchuk signed treaties on bilateral investment and double taxation.
In Lisbon on May 23, 1992, the United States signed a protocol to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakstan (those states on whose territory strategic nuclear weapons of the former Soviet Union are located). The protocol makes each state a party to the START Treaty and commits all signatories to reductions in strategic nuclear weapons within the seven-year period provided for in the treaty. Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan also agreed to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear weapons states. The treaty entered into force on December 5, 1994, the same day Ukraine acceded to the NPT.
The U.S. has pledged to provide about $300 million to Ukraine under the Nunn-Lugar program to assist in the dismantlement of strategic offensive arms ($205 million), defense conversion ($40 million), and nuclear material protection ($12.5 million). The U.S. also has pledged $10 million to assist in the establishment of a Science and Technology Center designed to provide peaceful employment opportunities to scientists and engineers formerly involved with weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador - William Green Miller
Deputy Chief of Mission - James Schumaker
Political Counselor - Vacant
Economic Counselor - Robert Boehme
Commercial Officer - Andriy Bihun
Consular Officer - Walter Davenport
Administrative Officer - Gary Bagley
Public Affairs Officer - Robert Heath
USAID - Gregory Huger
The U.S. embassy in Kiev is at 10 Yuriya Kotsyubinskoho, 25203 (tel.  (044) 244-7345).
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets exist for all countries and include information on immigration practices, currency regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts in the country. Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions overseas which pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Free copies of this information are available by calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets also are available on the Consular Affairs Internet home page: http://travel.state.gov and the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). To access CABB, dial the modem number: (301-946-4400 (it will accommodate up to 33,600 bps), set terminal communications program to N-8-1 (no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit); and terminal emulation to VT100. The login is travel and the password is info (Note: Lower case is required). The CABB also carries international security information from the Overseas Security Advisory Council and Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Consular Affairs Trips for Travelers publication series, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250.
Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-4000.
Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-hour, 7-day a week automated system ($.35 per minute) or live operators 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per minute). The number is 1-900-225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users (for a flat rate of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648)
Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at (404) 332-4559 gives the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled Health Information for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.
Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see "Principal Government Officials" listing in this publication).
U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas, are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country (see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" listing in this publication). This may help family members contact you in case of an emergency.
Further Electronic Information:
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet, DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch, the official magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings; directories of key officers of foreign service posts; etc. DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at U.S. State Department Home Page; this site has a link to the DOSFAN Gopher Research Collection, which also is accessible at gopher://gopher.state.gov.
U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on a semi-annual basis by the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information on the Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of official foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Contact the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or fax (202) 512-2250.
National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information. It is available on the Internet (www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-1986 for more information.
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