Cablegate: A/S Dewey Meetings with Gvn Mfa Officials Reflect

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






E.O. 12358: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: On June 10, PRM Assistant Secretary
Dewey, Ambassador Marine and PRM/ANE Director McGann met
with GVN Vice Foreign Minister Vu Dzung and officials of the
Americas and Consular Departments. A/S Dewey requested that
the GVN act quickly on the start of the Humanitarian
Resettlement (HR) process. He urged the GVN to permit
assignment of a UNHCR international staff person in Hanoi
and to allow regular monitoring trips to the Central
Highlands, including by international staff. A/S Dewey also
asked the GVN to expedite passport issuance to pending
ethnic minority family reunification cases.

2. (SBU) Summary, cont'd: In the midst of preparations for
Prime Minister Phan Van Khai's Washington visit, VFM Vu
Dzung emphasized that, the GVN is making efforts to meet USG
concerns. VFM Dzung said the GVN would respond quickly on
the pending HR Public Information Outreach proposal, in the
hope of announcing plans to commence the HR program by the
end of the month. Dzung and other GVN officials also
promised a timely response to USG interest in expanding
UNHCR's monitoring role. Concerning family reunification
cases, they agreed in principle to issuing passports for the
cases and stressed that they believe the problem to be
technical rather than political. End Summary.

3. (SBU) In separate meetings with Vice Foreign Minister Vu
Dzung and with Deputy Director of the Consular Department
Nguyen Minh Vu, A/S Dewey urged the GVN to move forward
quickly with the next steps to implement the Humanitarian
Resettlement (HR) process. Both GVN officials noted that
they had recently received the revised USG Public
Information Outreach (PIO) proposal and were still reviewing
it with relevant agencies. They stated that they hoped to
have comments from all concerned offices by the end of June
and would then be ready to respond to the USG proposals.
They noted that the already agreed upon documents from the
December 2004 technical talks are a good start to
implementing the HR process, which will help to resolve
remaining resettlement issues from the war era. Dewey said
that the USG would follow up on the status of the PIO
proposal by the end of June and would continue to push for
an announcement of the program as soon as possible following
the conclusion of the upcoming visit to the United States by
Prime Minister Phan Van Khai.

4. (SBU) Regarding the situation facing ethnic minority
persons from the Central Highlands who have fled to
Cambodia, A/S Dewey said he believes that it is in the
common interest of the USG and the GVN to work together to
resolve the situation quickly. The USG is currently working
with the UNHCR to help resettle those persons in Cambodia
who have opted for resettlement to a third country. We are
grateful that Hanoi-based UNHCR Officer in Charge Vu Anh Son
was recently allowed to visit some of those who had opted to
return to Vietnam. It is important to have an international
UNHCR presence in Vietnam as a way of strengthening the
credibility of reporting on the condition of the returnees,
A/S Dewey stressed. The GVN officials responded that they
are ready to facilitate the return of all those who want to
come back to Vietnam. The GVN is prepared to consider more
and regular visits by UNHCR to the Central Highlands.
Regional UNHCR representative, Hasim Utkan, has a multiple
entry visa and can visit Vietnam at any time. Regarding the
issue of an expatriate UNHCR representative in Hanoi and
international presence on trips to the Central Highlands,
the GVN would take these requests into consideration.
(Note: At dinner that evening, Vu Anh Son said he had been
told by GVN officials that an expatriate UNHCR person would
be permitted to accompany him on a future trip "when the
timing was right." Mr. Son interpreted this to mean that
they wanted him to take one or two more monitoring trips
himself to build confidence, and then they would permit an
expatriate to accompany him. End note.)

5. (SBU) A/S Dewey urged the GVN to consider specific ways
in which the international community could work with Vietnam
to improve conditions for ethnic minority residents in the
Central Highlands. As a possible way to attract additional
development assistance, he noted the recent work of the
Afghan Conservation Corps in reforestation and employment
creation projects and proposed that the GVN support a
similar initiative in the Central Highlands. VFM Dzung
noted that the GVN has an ambitious reforestation project,
but that such work needs adequate funding. Furthermore,
such programs need many years to achieve results, and may
not solve the immediate needs of the residents. A/S Dewey
agreed that such programs are a long-term investment, but
that we are seeing the payoff in places such as Kabul now.
He emphasized that this is just one example of possible
cooperation among the USG, GVN and possibly NGOs and U.N.
organizations to improve conditions for the residents of the
Central Highlands.

6. (SBU) A/S Dewey also raised the issue of whether
discrimination in land use practices, such as confiscation
or certain land sale practices, may be a factor in
disadvantaging ethnic minorities or causing people to flee
to Cambodia. VFM Dzung answered that the GVN has been
conducting its own fact-finding on this issue and does not
see its land policies as discriminatory. In many cases,
land has been given to ethnic minority individuals, but they
sold their land to use the money for short-term benefits
such as generators or motorcycles. They think they can then
move elsewhere and acquire more land in a more distant area,
reflecting the traditionally migratory nature of ethnic
minority settlement in the Central Highlands, VFM Dzung
averred. This is much more difficult now, however, as
population growth has made available land more scarce. He
further emphasized that there is no government policy to
deprive ethnic minority groups of their land. A/S Dewey
made clear that problems in land use practices may continue
to be a significant factor in future determinations of
possible refugee status.

7. (SBU) A/S Dewey also raised concerns about the status of
many ethnic minority families who have pending family
reunification petitions with the USG, but who have been
unable to obtain the necessary civil documents and passports
to proceed with their applications. He urged the GVN to act
expeditiously to resolve these cases and permit them to go
forward as quickly as possible. Forward movement would have
a positive effect on relations, as it is a high visibility
humanitarian issue in the United States. The GVN officials
replied that, in principle, there should not be problems in
passport issuance, and that they believe the problem to be
technical rather than political. Consular Department
officials came to the meeting prepared with a diplomatic
note responding to previous Embassy and ConGen inquiries on
these cases, noting six cases in Gia Lai Province where
families have recently received their passports. They
assured A/S Dewey they would continue look into all cases we
raise with them and do anything possible to help. The
Ambassador noted that he would meet the Vice Minister of
Public Security this week (septel), and that we would
provide updated lists of all such pending cases for follow-
up action by the MFA.

8. (SBU) A/S Dewey and PRM/ANE Director McGann cleared this
cable prior to their departure.


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