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Cablegate: Vietnam Adoptions: No Forward Motion, Loss Of

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 001870

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR CA/OCS/CI, CA/OCS/ACS/EAP, CA/OCS/PRI,
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR CA/VO/F/P, EAP/BCLTV, AND L/EAP
Bangkok for DHS/DD
Ho Chi Minh City for CONS and DHS OIC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KOCI CVIS CASC PREL VM
SUBJECT: VIETNAM ADOPTIONS: NO FORWARD MOTION, LOSS OF
YARDAGE

REF: A) HANOI 1759 B) STATE 168760, C) AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) Summary. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ)
reorganization has all but halted forward progress on
reaching any bilateral understanding on adoptions. Post has
yet to receive written confirmation that a document other
than a bilateral agreement will be acceptable, and has been
told that the offices of the Prime Minister and State
President are not currently likely to accept anything other
than a bilateral agreement. In addition, the GVN's former
lead adoption agreement negotiator (who was the principal
source of support for the USG position) is no longer in
charge. We expect little progress in the foreseeable future
as the Ministry of Justice's new Office of International
Adoptions gets up and running. End Summary.

NO ONE IN CHARGE
----------------

2. (SBU) As initially reported ref A, a July 12
reorganization within MOJ resulted in the nominal shifting
of responsibilities for adoptions negotiations to the newly
created Office of International Adoptions (OIA). However,
OIA is still in transition. The individuals formerly
responsible for adoption "agreements" no longer have any
decision-making authority, and their successors (and their
roles) have not yet been identified.

NO RESPONSE
-----------

3. (SBU) On July 11, the Consular section contacted MOJ
Director of International Cooperation, Nguyen Van Binh, to
reiterate the USG request for written confirmation that a
document other than a bilateral agreement would be
acceptable. When no response to the request was
forthcoming, the Consular section contacted Binh again on
July 16. Binh admitted that the offices of the Prime
Minister and State President are opposed to any document
that is not a formal bilateral agreement. Additionally,
Binh noted that he strongly believes that if he officially
asks for approval to move forward with negotiation of a
document other than a bilateral agreement at this time, the
answer will be "no."

BINH IS AN ALLY...
------------------

4. (SBU) Binh said that he had been trying to find legal
precedents in which the GVN entered into (and the State
President ratified) an accord that was not a bilateral
agreement, but to date has been unsuccessful. He has
requested the assistance of the Vietnamese Embassy in
Washington in this matter.

5. (SBU) Binh nonetheless expressed hope in building
consensus in support of an MOU, Protocol, or similar
document within the interagency working group on
international adoptions. This group will include members of
all relevant Ministries, as well as representatives of the
offices of the Prime Minister and State President. It is
the same group that will consider our latest draft Protocol.
Binh asked for more time to build this consensus. He stated
that no interagency working group meeting would take place
until after the staffing of the MOJ's new Office of
International Adoptions was clarified, the issues thoroughly
reviewed by the new staff, and summer vacation season was
over. The earliest this meeting could take place is late
September or October.


... BUT IS NO LONGER IN CHARGE
---------------------------------

6. (SBU) Unfortunately, however, Binh is no longer the
point person for adoptions - his Prime Ministerial
designation as lead negotiator for international adoptions
expired July 12. Binh now serves only as an "advisor" on
the issue while OIA gets up to speed. Per ref A, Binh has
said that it was unlikely that he would be assigned to head
up the new OIA.

COMMENT
-------

7. (SBU) Binh has consistently demonstrated an understanding
of the U.S. position and a willingness to work with us to
reach bilateral consensus. However, with the loss of his
authority as lead negotiator for international adoptions, it
is not at all clear that he will be in a position to
influence policy decisions in this area.

8. (SBU) What is clear is that, with the creation of OIA,
we are potentially back to square one. The change in
personnel responsible for international adoptions is likely
to result in a thorough re-evaluation of the issues and the
GVN's position. Given the current opposition in the offices
of the Prime Minister and the State President, and further
given the tendency of GVN officials to reject positions of
their predecessors in an effort to exert authority,
cultivating support with the new personnel in the OIA will
be an uphill battle.

9. (SBU) We will continue to make every effort - engaging
both Binh and the (as yet unnamed) new officials at OIA - to
move forward with the latest draft. However, we expect
little progress in the foreseeable future as the OIA
concentrates on getting up and running.
BURGHARDT

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