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Cablegate: Unodc Concern Over Vietnam Funding

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 02 Hanoi 2979

1. (U) This is an action request - see paragraph 8.

2. (U) UNODC country representative Dr. Doris Buddenberg
contacted poloff on March 6 to express concern over
Department's decision to reprogram USD 740,000 originally
intended to fund UNODC's law enforcement project
"Interdiction and Seizure Capacity Building with Special
Emphasis on ATS and Precursors." Embassy continues to
support the project, while understanding the apparent need
for more urgent programming elsewhere. As a fallback,
Embassy would support the suggestion of using USD 500,000
intended for the now moribund Song Ma project for this law
enforcement project.

3. (U) Vietnam continues to face numerous challenges
regarding the drug and crime situation, including: (1) the
lack of financing resources for technical drug control and
crime prevention activities; (2) the possible re-emergence
of opium poppy cultivation; (3) growing drug trafficking and
consumption problems; (4) rising crime concerns connected to
drugs, such as corruption, money-laundering and trafficking
in persons; and (5) restrictive internal policies regarding
the sharing of drug intelligence information with foreign

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4. (U) Within the UNODC country program for Vietnam, law
enforcement has always been - with support from the USG - an
important component of drug control. Through law
enforcement projects such as this one, the UN and donor
agencies are in regular contact with the Ministry of Public
Security (MPS). This allows foreign agencies to chip away
at one of the toughest problems in dealing with Vietnam's
drug problems - developing a cooperative counternarcotics
relationship with MPS. Without a significant improvement in
MPS cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies, this
project can serve as a useful conduit for better access to
information and influence on decision-making, thus helping
UNODC to implement the multifaceted approach to drug control
as envisaged by the UNODC mandate and the UN Conventions on
drug control, especially the UN Convention of 1988. With
increased training, GVN law enforcement agencies should also
become more aware of issues such as human rights,
international dimension of criminal and drug activities,
international cooperation, and mutual legal assistance.
With the US-Vietnam counternarcotics agreement still
pending, contributions to UNODC's Vietnam projects are a
cost-effective way of advancing the mission's and USG's
counternarcotics and law enforcement goals.

5. (U) Significantly, the project document includes a
provision on drug profiling, where GVN authorities agree to
heroin profiling being conducted by partner laboratories
abroad. While the profiling is linked to heroin only in
this project, it opens the door for future cooperation in
other drug categories, such as ATS. This activity will
enable law enforcement authorities to have a better idea
from where seized heroin is coming. The GVN has been
extremely reluctant to cooperate with such profiling on a
bilateral basis.

6. (U) Action request: Embassy requests that INL consult
with UNODC headquarters and favorably consider funding the
UNODC project with the USD 500,000 available from Song Ma or
from other available sources.

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