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Cablegate: Vietnam Seeks to Bolster International Organization

VZCZCXRO3712
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #3007 3471012
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131012Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4117
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 2231
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1150

UNCLAS HANOI 003007

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

Department for EAP/MLS and IO/UNP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV UN VM
SUBJECT: VIETNAM SEEKS TO BOLSTER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION
CREDENTIALS BY HOSTING HUMANITARIAN LAW CONFERENCE

1. (SBU) Summary and Comment: Vietnam recently co-hosted East
Asia's first-ever conference on International Humanitarian Law,
during which it pledged to take steps to strengthen its commitment
to humanitarian law. Significantly, Vietnam's decision to host the
conference is part and parcel of its efforts to bolster its
international organization-related knowledge, expertise and
credentials in support of its candidacy for a non-permanent seat on
the UNSC for the 2008-2009 term. End Comment.

2. (SBU) Vietnam hosted East Asia's first-ever conference on
International Humanitarian Law (IHL) from November 30 to December 1.
The conference, entitled "International Humanitarian Law: New
Treaties and Implementation, the East Asian Perspective," was
co-hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and
included the participation of officials from the Philippines, the
PRC, Indonesia, Japan, the ROK, Cambodia and the DPRK. (Note:
According to a colleague at the South Korean Embassy, the two DPRK
participants were MFA Treaty Department officials who were silent
throughout the conference. End Note.)

3. (SBU) The GVN's presentations focused heavily on the development
and implementation of IHL in Vietnam, including the "humane
treatment" of prisoners of war and deserters in its wars with France
and the United States. During the conference, the GVN pledged to:
bring its existing domestic laws in line with IHL treaties; finalize
new laws on mutual legal assistance and protection of the Red Cross
symbol; and, become a full party to the Convention on Anti-Personnel
Mines, the Convention on Some Conventional Weapons Causing Excessive
Injurious and Indiscriminate Effects and the Convention on the
Protection of Cultural Property. The MFA is also planning to
initiate a public awareness campaign on the importance of IHL, MFA
Law and Treaties Department expert Vu Thi Mai Lien told us.

4. (SBU) According to ICRC Regional Delegation Head Fred Grimm
(based in Bangkok), the MFA and others -- including the General
Political Department of the People's Army of Vietnam -- have over
the past year been increasingly interested in learning more about
IHL and its applicability, particularly in peacekeeping operations.
The MFA enthusiastically accepted the role of co-host, and Grimm
surmised that the proposal to be the first-ever Asian host of an IHL
conference held an additional cachet for the GVN.

5. (SBU) Comment: Vietnam's aspirations to play a greater role on
the international stage will culminate in its (likely) non-permanent
membership on the UN Security Council for the 2008-2009 term. That
said, the GVN recognizes that it faces a steep learning curve. Its
decision to co-host this conference should be seen as part and
parcel of its campaign to bolster its international
organization-related knowledge, expertise and credentials. End
Comment.

MARINE

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