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Cablegate: Gvn Appreciates Recent Positive Developments But

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

UNCLAS HANOI 001239

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EAP/BCTLV

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM EAID PTER VM HUMANR CTERR
SUBJECT: GVN APPRECIATES RECENT POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS BUT
STILL TROUBLED BY FLAG ISSUE


1. (U) SUMMARY. On April 29, Nguyen Ba Hung, Deputy
Director of the Americas Department of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, met with DCM to convey messages on six
issues relating to the bilateral relationship. These
issues included the political dialogue in May, the
extradition of suspected terrorist Vo Van Duc, USDA funding
of American Red Cross nutrition education program, the
possible early release of Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, the
"involvement" of a high-level U.S. diplomat in
demonstrations at the SRV Embassy in Geneva, and the
Commonwealth of Virginia's recently signed law on the flag
of the former Republic of South Vietnam. Econoff attended
as notetaker. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) POL dialogue: Hung provided DCM with a tentative
program for the upcoming political consultation in Hanoi
(septel). May 14 is an acceptable date to the GVN. He
noted that the GVN had incorporated many of Embassy's
recommendations, and informed DCM that the GVN is also
willing to discuss any new ideas or questions.

3. (U) Hung conveyed the GVN appreciation of the recent
ruling to extradite suspected terrorist Vo Van Duc, who is
accused of placing a bomb outside the Vietnamese Embassy in
Bangkok. Hung noted that the appeals process may
potentially delay the extradition. The GVN considers this
"a very meaningful gesture," which will promote good anti-
terror cooperation, Hung promised.

4. (U) Hung expressed the GVN's pleasure with the USDA
approval of the
American Red Cross' Child Nutrition
Education project in four provinces "that were heavily
affected during the war." Hung informed DCM that this
project will provide food to approximately 15,000 pupils
and nutrition education to the students and their families.
The project budget is approximately 2 million USD.

5. (U) On the negative side, Hung conveyed the GVN's
disappointment to learn of the possible early release of
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, who was sentenced to a term of five
years in prison for involvement in an incident in San
Francisco with Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in
2001. According to Hung, a court of appeals in San
Francisco is now considering the possibility of shortening
the remaining three years of her term.

6. (SBU) Hung claimed that the Vietnamese Mission in
Geneva recently reported that the head of the U.S.
Delegation to the UNCHR, Ambassador Richard Williamson,
"participated in a demonstration" in front of the SRV
mission in Geneva following the recent disturbance in the
Central Highlands and "delivered remarks to the
demonstrators that were highly critical of the GVN."
Following the demonstration, according to Hung, Ambassador
Williamson invited members of a group called "The
Foundation of the Vietnamese Republic" to his residence.
Hung noted that the GVN is "very disturbed" by this
behavior and takes the matter "very seriously." Hung
wondered aloud whether this was an act of personal initiative
or whether Ambassador Williamson was acting on official
instructions.

7. (U) Hung emphasized the GVN's displeasure with the
fact that Governor of the State of Virginia had recently
"approved legislation recognizing the use of the flag of
the former Republic of South Vietnam as a cultural symbol."
Hung said that he understood that Vietnamese Americans have
a right to express themselves in this regard, but that this
issue could damage the bilateral relationship if more
states should follow the examples set by Virginia and
Louisiana. He emphasized that the GVN does not understand
why the Department cannot do more to "influence" such
decisions. Hung noted that the GVN has tried to engage
with the overseas Vietnamese community in the U.S. in a
positive manner so that many of the divisive issues between
Vietnamese Americans and the GVN do not damage the
improving relationship between the two countries.
BURGHARDT

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