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Cablegate: Ethnic Minorities Minister On Land, Us Ngos

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

061028Z Nov 02

2002HANOI02694 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ0899

PAGE 01 HANOI 02694 01 OF 02 061042Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00
SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 ED-01 E-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00
VC-00 HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 LAB-01
L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01
OPIC-01 PA-00 PER-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00
SP-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 ECA-00 PMB-00
DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /011W
------------------042C22 061043Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8039
INFO AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 002694

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI VM ETMIN
SUBJECT: ETHNIC MINORITIES MINISTER ON LAND, US NGOS

REF: HANOI 2678

1. (U) SUMMARY. THE MINISTER FOR ETHNIC MINORITIES DENIED
HAVING SEEN ANY DRAFT BANNING US NGOS FROM THE CENTRAL
HIGHLAND, BUT INDIRECTLY ADMITTED THAT THE GVN DID NOT AGREE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02694 01 OF 02 061042Z
WITH SUCH ACTIVITIES, WHILE WELCOMING US BUSINESSES THERE.
HE DESCRIBED ONGOING EFFORTS TO ENSURE HIGHLANDERS HAVE
ENOUGH LAND, INCLUDING A NEW PROGRAM AIMED ESPECIALLY AT
THOSE WHO HAD EARLIER "SOLD" OR CONTRIBUTED THEIR LAND TO
CREATE PLANTATIONS. HE ADMITTED THAT MIGRATION FROM OTHER
AREAS OF VIETNAM INTO THE CENTRAL HIGHLAND WAS SEEN AS
NECESSARY TO OVERCOME POPULATION PRESSURES AND ENSURE EQUAL
ACCESS TO LAND, WHILE CLAIMING ETHNIC MINORITIES STILL
RECEIVED PRIORITY ALLOCATIONS. HE AND AMBASSADOR REVIEWED
POSSIBILITIES FOR A VISIT TO THE U.S. BY THE MINISTER AND/OR
HIS STAFF IN EARLY 2003. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) AMBASSADOR, ACCOMPANIED BY POL/C, MET ON NOVEMBER 6
WITH NEW CHAIRMAN OF ETHNIC MINORITIES COMMISSION, KSOR
PHUOC. (THIS POSITION WAS EXPLICITLY UPGRADED TO
MINISTERIAL-LEVEL DURING THE AUGUST 11TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
INAUGURAL MEETING.) A NATIVE OF GIA LAI PROVINCE AND AN
ETHNIC JRAI, HE GREW UP IN NORTHERN VIETNAM (HIS FATHER
MOVED TO THE NORTH IN MARCH 1955). HIS EDUCATION WAS IN THE
PUBLIC SECURITY SECTOR, IN WHICH HE WORKED MOST OF HIS
CAREER, EVENTUALLY RISING TO PUBLIC SECURITY CHIEF FOR GIA
LAI, TO WHICH HE HAD RETURNED IN AUGUST 1980. HIS MOST
RECENT JOB WAS AS GIA LAI PARTY SECRETARY. HE HAS SERVED AS
A NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DELEGATE FROM GIA LAI FOR ITS 10TH AND
11TH (CURRENT) SESSIONS. COMMENT: WHILE WELL-INFORMED ON
ALL ISSUES, INCLUDING THE COMPLICATED LAND ISSUE, KSOR PHUOC
STUCK FAITHFULLY TO THE CPV LINE. THAT LINE INCLUDES A
POLICY OF POPULATION REDISTRIBUTION THAT IS BOUND TO
CONTINUE TO AGGRAVATE ETHNIC TENSIONS. END COMMENT.

US ROLE IN CENTRAL HIGHLANDS
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 02694 01 OF 02 061042Z
----------------------------

3. (U) AMBASSADOR POINTED TO HIS OWN TRAVELS TO ETHNIC
MINORITY AREAS INCLUDING THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS, QUANG TRI,
AND AN UPCOMING TRIP TO THE NORTHWEST HIGHLANDS AS EXAMPLES
OF US EFFORTS BETTER TO UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION OF THESE
GROUPS AND TO WITNESS GVN EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THEIR LIVES.
HE NOTED THAT USG HUMANITARIAN AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS NOW
UNDERWAY ELSEWHERE IN VIETNAM, AS WELL AS PROJECTS BY US
NGOS, COULD BE HELPFUL IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS. HE ASKED
ABOUT RECENT REPORTS (REF A) OF A RECENT GVN DECREE
FORBIDDING US NGOS FROM OPERATING IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS;
IF ACCURATE, THIS WOULD BE UNFORTUNATE, GIVEN THE HIGH
QUALITY OF THESE INDIVIDUALS AND THEIR PROJECTS, AS WELL AS
THEIR GENUINELY GOOD INTENTIONS. IT WOULD ALSO INDICATE A
DISTRUST OF THE USG AND AMERICAN CITIZENS, WHICH WOULD BE
UNHELPFUL AS BOTH GOVERNMENTS STRIVE TO IMPROVE RELATIONS.

4. (U) KSOR PHUOC INITIALLY CLAIMED THAT "UP UNTIL THIS
MINUTE," HE HAD NEVER SEEN ANY DRAFT OF SUCH A DECREE. HE
SAID THAT THE GVN WAS READY TO "CREATE FAVORABLE CONDITIONS"
FOR US BUSINESSES TO OPERATE IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS, WHILE
NOT DIRECTLY REFERRING TO NGOS. HE COMMENTED, HOWEVER, THAT
THE US AND VIETNAM HAD DIFFERENT UNDERSTANDINGS AND
DIFFERENT WAYS OF THINKING. VIETNAM THEREFORE "DID NOT YET
AGREE" WITH HAVING US NGOS IN THESE AREAS. HE CRITICIZED
COMMENTS BY CERTAIN AMERICAN INDIVIDUALS -- NOTABLY, THE
FORMER US AMBASSADOR IN CAMBODIA.

5. (U) AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT HE AND DAS DALEY HAD MADE
CLEAR REPEATEDLY THAT THE USG DOES NOT ENCOURAGE OR SUPPORT
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 02694 01 OF 02 061042Z
THE DIVISION OF VIETNAM OR THE INDEPENDENCE OF ANY PART OF
IT. HE HIGHLIGHTED THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OPINIONS FREELY
EXPRESSED BY US CITIZENS AND OFFICIAL USG POLICY. HE
REITERATED THE USEFUL ROLE THAT US NGOS COULD PLAY IN THE
CENTRAL HIGHLANDS AND URGED THE GVN ALLOW THEM ACCESS.

LAND RIGHTS AND MIGRANTS
------------------------

6. (U) AMBASSADOR ASKED KSOR PHUOC TO EXPLAIN THE PROBLEM
OF LAND USE AND COMPENSATION, WHICH EVEN LOCAL OFFICIALS IN
THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS ADMITTED HAD NOT ALWAYS BEEN HANDLED
WELL. THE MINISTER SAID THAT LAND IN VIETNAM BELONGED TO
"ALL THE PEOPLE," UNDER THE MANAGEMENT OF THE STATE.
INDIVIDUALS HAVE ONLY LAND USE RIGHTS, NOT ACTUAL OWNERSHIP.
CPV AND GVN POLICY IS THAT FARMERS MUST HAVE ENOUGH LAND TO
SURVIVE, AND TO GIVE PRIORITY ON PROVISION OF LAND TO ETHNIC
MINORITIES. SINCE 1985, WHEN LAND VALUES BEGAN TO RISE WITH
THE ADVENT OF DOI MOI, MANY ETHNIC MINORITIES HAD SOLD THEIR
LAND USE RIGHTS TO MIGRANTS TO THESE NEW ECONOMIC ZONES, OR
TO CREATE PLANTATIONS, AND MOVED FURTHER INTO THE FORESTS TO
CULTIVATE NEW LAND, HE ADDED.

7. (U) THE MINISTER NOTED THAT THE GVN HAD DECIDED TO
"SOLVE" THE LAND PROBLEM OVER THE 2002/2003 TIME PERIOD,

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ0901

PAGE 01 HANOI 02694 02 OF 02 061043Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00
SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 ED-01 E-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00
VC-00 HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 LAB-01
L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01
OPIC-01 PA-00 PER-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00
SP-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 ECA-00 PMB-00
DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /011W
------------------042C42 061043Z /38
R 061028Z NOV 02
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8040
INFO AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 HANOI 002694

SIPDIS


ALLOCATING 500 BILLION DONG (USD 33 MILLION) TO A PROGRAM
UNDER WHICH EACH HOUSEHOLD WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO EITHER 1/3
OF A HECTARE IN AREAS WHERE TWO CROPS PER YEAR ARE POSSIBLE,
OR 1/2 OF A HECTARE IN SINGLE CROP AREAS. IF THEY HAD
ALREADY SOLD THEIR LAND, THEY WILL BE ENTITLED TO 4 MILLION
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02694 02 OF 02 061043Z
DONG (USD 270) IN COMPENSATION. THOSE WHO RECEIVE NEW LAND
-- WHICH WILL BE TAKEN FROM UNPROFITABLE PLANTATIONS -- WILL
BE BARRED FROM SELLING THESE LAND USE RIGHTS FOR TEN YEARS.
SELLERS WHO VIOLATE THIS PROVISION WILL LOSE THEIR LAND, AND
THE BUYERS WILL LOSE THEIR MONEY, HE CLAIMED.

8. (U) AMBASSADOR ASKED ABOUT HOW THE GVN HAD FACTORED IN
TRADITIONAL COMMUNAL LANDS WHEN IMPLEMENTING THIS PROGRAM.
KSOR PHUOC AGREED THAT THE TRADITION IN THE CENTRAL
HIGHLANDS WAS FOR VILLAGES TO ALLOCATE LAND HELD COMMUNALLY
BY THE VILLAGE TO FAMILIES, WITHOUT PROVIDING DOCUMENTS. HE
SAID THAT THE GVN, WHILE RESPECTING THAT TRADITION, HAD
ORIGINALLY ASKED THESE HOUSEHOLDS TO "CONTRIBUTE" THEIR
LANDS TO CREATE PLANTATIONS IN THE INTEREST OF ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT AND OF CHANGING THEIR "NOMADIC" LIFESTYLE. SOME
HAD STAYED ON THE PLANTATIONS, OTHERS HAD NOT. THE GVN'S
GOAL NOW WAS TO IMPROVE THE LEVEL OF PRODUCTIVITY OF THESE
LANDS, WITH WHICH IT WAS HAVING SOME SUCCESS, HE ADDED.

9. (U) THE MINISTER DESCRIBED HOW THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS HAD
ONLY 4 MILLION PEOPLE LIVING ON 5 MILLION HECTARES OF LAND,
WHEREAS IN OTHER AREAS PEOPLE HAD NO LAND AT ALL. THE GVN
HAS TRIED TO DISTRIBUTE THE POPULATION MORE EQUITABLY TO
OVERCOME THESE DISPARITIES AND TRY TO PROMOTE MORE EQUAL
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. HE CLAIMED THAT PRIORITY FOR LAND USE
RIGHTS IN THE HIGHLANDS REMAINED FOR THE NATIVE ETHNIC
MINORITIES (REITERATING DISTRIBUTION CRITERIA DESCRIBED IN
PARA 7). HE PREDICTED ADOPTION OF A NEW GVN DECREE IN
NOVEMBER THAT WOULD ADDRESS ASSISTANCE IN ENSURING LAND AND
LIVING QUARTERS FOR ALL.

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 02694 02 OF 02 061043Z
TRIP TO U.S.
------------

10. (U) AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT THE MINISTER'S STAFF HAD
BEEN IN TOUCH WITH THE EMBASSY'S POLITICAL AND PUBLIC
AFFAIRS SECTIONS REGARDING AN EARLY 2003 TRIP BY THE
MINISTER TO STUDY US PRACTICES REGARDING MINORITIES AND TO
EXCHANGE VIEWS. THE MINISTER DENIED ANY PLANS YET FOR HIM
TO MAKE SUCH A TRIP, ADMITTING ONLY THAT HE HAD ASKED HIS
STAFF TO "RESEARCH" CONDITIONS IN THE U.S. AND OBTAIN
MATERIALS ON US PROGRAMS TO DEVELOP AN "EFFECTIVE AGENDA"
FOR SUCH A TRIP. HE AND THE AMBASSADOR AGREED THAT THEIR
TWO STAFFS SHOULD CONTINUE TO WORK OUT POSSIBLE OPTIONS,
WHICH WOULD INCLUDE NOT ONLY MEETINGS WITH USG OFFICIALS IN
WASHINGTON BUT OTHER SITE VISITS SUCH AS TO INDIAN
RESERVATIONS, VIETNAMESE MONTAGNARD CENTERS IN NORTH
CAROLINA, AND DEVELOPMENTAL PROJECTS IN APPALACHIA. THE
MINISTER NOTED THAT VIRTUALLY EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WAS
NOW MULTI-ETHNIC, AND THAT VIETNAM COULD LEARN FROM
EXPERIENCES ELSEWHERE, INCLUDING THE U.S., FOR WHICH HE
EXPRESSED ADMIRATION.

11. (U) THE MINISTER CONCLUDED BY NOTING THAT VIETNAM HAD
DECIDED TO "FORGET" THE PAST AND CONCENTRATE ON THE FUTURE.
HE NONETHELESS WARNED THAT THE US MUST STILL WORK TO "SOLVE"
PAST PROBLEMS CAUSED BY THE WAR AND THAT, WHEN EMBOFFS
TRAVELED, THEY WOULD STILL FIND "MILLIONS" OF PEOPLE WHO
STILL THOUGHT ABOUT THE PAST. HE URGED AMBASSADOR AND
EMBOFFS TO INTERACT WITH VIETNAMESE "HONESTLY" AND TO BUILD
TRUST BY BOTH WORDS AND ACTIONS. AMBASSADOR STRESSED THAT
US POLICY TOWARD VIETNAM WAS VERY SIMPLE: WE WANT TO BUILD
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 02694 02 OF 02 061043Z
GOOD RELATIONS BY HELPING VIETNAM GET RICHER, WHICH IS ALSO
IN THE INTEREST OF THE U.S.
BURHGARDT

UNCLASSIFIED

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