Cablegate: Charge Meets with Unhcr Regional Representative

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
SUBJECT: Charge Meets with UNHCR Regional Representative

1. (SBU) The Charge met December 17 with UNHCR Regional
Representative Hasim Utkan and UNHCR Vietnam Country
Representative Vu Anh Son. According to Utkan, he had had a
productive meeting earlier in the day with MFA Director
General for Consular Affairs Bui Dinh Dinh and had focused
on three issues: the UNHCR's in-country presence, the
UNHCR's activities in Vietnam and a "high-level" UNHCR visit
to Vietnam. On the subject of the UNHCR's presence, Utkan
said that the UNHCR had identified an international staff
member to serve as its representative in Hanoi. The UNHCR
believed that "upgrading" its presence in this manner would
send a positive message about the UNHCR's relationship with
the GVN and commitment to programs in Vietnam.

2. (SBU) On the subject of the UNHCR's activities in
Vietnam, Utkan said that the UNHCR hoped to restart some of
its non-Montagnard-related in-country programs. He urged
the GVN not to link these programs with any ongoing problems
between the UNHCR and the GVN over Montagnards. It would
thus be in Vietnam's interest to have an in-country presence
regardless of the state of play in the Central Highlands to
take care of other areas of the UNHCR mandate, Utkan
reportedly stressed. For example, the UNHCR wished to
resume its program assisting "stateless" Cambodians living
in the south. Finally, Utkan told the Charge that he had
discussed with DG Dinh the desire to realize a "high-level"
visit to Vietnam, perhaps by the High Commissioner, sometime
in 2005. Dinh reportedly responded that movement on all of
these issues would depend on the state of the relationship
between the UNHCR and the GVN.

3. (SBU) Turning briefly to the question of Montagnards in
Cambodia, Utkan said that a "better mechanism" was needed to
facilitate the return to Vietnam of those Montagnards who so
desired. The difficult experience of dealing with the 13
Vietnamese who had qualified for resettlement but who chose
instead to return to Vietnam made clear that there must be a
better way to handle similar incidents. Utkan also said
that, if all the parties concerned agreed, the UNHCR could
establish a "more robust" UNHCR presence on the ground in
Cambodian border provinces -- such as in the form of a field


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