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Cablegate: Ambassador Raises Central Highlands Minorities,

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 000880

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT PASS TO EAP/BCLTV; EAP/RSP; DRL; PRM; PM; T

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PREF ETRD VM KICC ETMIN HUMANR WTO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RAISES CENTRAL HIGHLANDS MINORITIES,
VISAS 93 CASES AND IMET/ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS WITH VFM LE
VAN BANG

Ref: A. Hanoi 671; B. Hanoi 772; C. State 67690; D. 04 Hanoi
2863

1. (SBU) Summary: The Ambassador met with Vice Foreign
Minister Le Van Bang April 14 at the Foreign Ministry and
discussed problems involving UNHCR access to ethnic minority
migrants who have been returned to the Central Highlands.
The Ambassador also raised the issue of the problems
obtaining passports and other necessary administrative
documents faced by the Central Highlands families of ethnic
minorities who entered the United States as refugees. VFM
Le Van Bang said the GVN has given the "green light" to an
Article 98 agreement but still plans to wait to sign it
until Vietnam's WTO accession is complete. The MFA will
"get back to us" on the status of consideration of an IMET
agreement. End Summary.

CENTRAL HIGHLANDS MINORITIES AND UNHCR
--------------------------------------

2. (SBU) The Ambassador raised the issue of the Office of
the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) access to
Central Highlands minority migrants returned from Cambodia.
Under the trilateral MOU, UNHCR and the GVN must coordinate
visits to the returnees, the Ambassador said. Recently,
however, a UNHCR request to visit returnees was turned down
and some groups and individuals have reported that returnees
have been interrogated by the police, he noted (refs A and
B). The Ambassador encouraged VFM Bang to arrange for UNHCR
access to the returnees before the April 28 trilateral MOU
review in Geneva. Allowing such access would be well
received by the international community and would blunt some
of the growing criticism UNHCR has been receiving for
entering into the agreement without enforceable guarantees
from the GVN, he said. This issue needs a "creative
solution," VFM Bang replied.

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VISAS 93 CASES
--------------

3. (SBU) The Ambassador informed VFM Bang that the issue of
follow-to-join travel for family members of Central
Highlands refugees who fled to the United States remains a
serious one with potential to harm the bilateral
relationship (ref C). Out of 91 outstanding cases, he said,
only 11 have been processed. The remaining 80 cases, which
include over 300 individuals, are held up pending the
issuance of passports to the applicants. Different
provinces have differing records of willingness to issue
passports in these cases, he observed. In Gia Lai province,
the process is beginning to show results, the Ambassador
noted, but in Dak Lak province not a single applicant has
successfully applied for a passport. Vietnam gains nothing
from holding back these family members, the Ambassador said,
and the problems faced in these cases have led some in the
United States to begin talking about the potential
applicability of the Jackson-Vanik law on regimes that
restrict free emigration. VFM Bang noted that this issue
falls outside his own portfolio, but promised to see to it
that it is raised with the appropriate office. The
Ambassador promised to provide a list of the Visas 93 cases
that are experiencing problems, updating the lists he
provided to Minister of Public Security Le Hong Anh in
October 2004 (ref D) and February 2005.

IMET AND ARTICLE 98
-------------------

4. (SBU) The Ambassador highlighted the USG's interest in
concluding both Article 98 and IMET/505 agreements with the
GVN as soon as possible. He noted that the Vietnamese
Ministry of National Defense (MND) has approved the IMET
concept and forwarded it back to MFA. VFM Bang said he
would look into the issue as soon as possible. On Article
98, VFM Bang said the Politburo has given the "green light"
to the Article 98 agreement, and that the only variable
remaining is timing. The GVN believes that European
agreement to Vietnam's WTO entry is in jeopardy if Vietnam
signs an Article 98 agreement with the United States, and
therefore it is necessary to wait to actually sign the
agreement until Vietnam has completed the WTO accession
process, VFM Bang said. "During the Prime Minister's visit
to the United States, he will say something positive about
it," VFM Bang offered. The Ambassador replied that it is
unreasonable for the Europeans to link Vietnam's WTO entry
with a completely unrelated bilateral agreement with the
United States.

MARINE

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