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Cablegate: Vietnam Considering Us Species Proposals for Cites Cop 15

VZCZCXRO0141
RR RUEHAST RUEHDH RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHSL
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHHI #0104/01 0280801
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280758Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0801
INFO ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 0425

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000104

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
STATE FOR OES/ENRC (LGAMBLE)
STATE PASS TO INTERIOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV KSCA AORC UNEP VM
SUBJECT: VIETNAM CONSIDERING US SPECIES PROPOSALS FOR CITES COP 15

1. (SBU) Summary: The head of the Vietnamese CITES Management
Office stated that the Government of Vietnam (GVN) had not yet met
to review the U.S. proposals (reftel), but thought they looked good
in principle, particularly as he felt they had little relationship
to Vietnam. The GVN will hold an internal meeting next week to
review the U.S. and other proposals and to develop Vietnam's
official positions for the CITES COP 15. Vietnam's relatively
modest delegation to the upcoming COP 15 meeting in Doha likely
will be lead by a vice minister from the Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development (MARD). End Summary.

No Decisions Yet on US Species Proposals

----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Per reftel, on January 26, OES/ENRC officer and
ESTHOff met with Do Quang Tung, the Manager of the CITES Management
Authority Office within the Forest Protection Department of MARD to
review Vietnam's positions on U.S. species proposals for CITES COP
15. The GVN delegation to the COP 15 likely will be led by a MARD
vice-minister and will include Tung and a few other scientific
experts, depending upon GVN funding levels. Tung noted that the
GVN had not yet met to review the U.S. proposals; however, he
thought that Vietnam generally backed the proposals, most of which,
he stated, were not related to Vietnam (e.g. The sharks at issue
are not found in Vietnamese waters and Vietnam already prohibits
coral harvesting). Tung could not yet commit to participation in
the U.S.-China proposed snake workshop, which he discussed with
U.S. experts during his visit to the United States last month.

3. (SBU) Before the Tet (Vietnamese New Year) holidays begin
in mid- February, the GVN will convene a meeting of the CITES
Management Authority, fisheries officials, representatives from
MARD (the Forest Protection Department's parent ministry), the
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), and the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to determine Vietnam's positions
at COP 15. The meeting will also include technical experts from
CITES scientific research institutions including the Institute for
Ecology and Resources, the Resources and Environment Research
Center, Sea Products Research Institute and the Vietnam Institute
for Forestry. Additionally, Vietnam will seek input from other
ASEAN countries as it develops its final positions.

Vietnam Interested in Selling Confiscated Elephant Ivory

--------------------------------------------- -----------

4. (SBU) Tung stated that Vietnam planned to suggest
amendments to Resolution 10.10 to allow countries that seize
illegal ivory shipments to sell the confiscated ivory. Vietnam has
incurred substantial expense, including security costs, for storing
several tons of elephant tusks recently confiscated from shipments
from Africa. The provincial police department currently
maintaining the ivory has stated they could only do so for one
year. He was non-committal in response to a suggestion that CITES
members look for means other than sales to compensate members which
incur expenses in conjunction with CITES enforcement
responsibilities.

Continued Inability to Remove Bears from Bear Bile Farm

--------------------------------------------- ----------

5. (SBU) Separately, Tung was unable to provide a satisfactory
justification for continued failure by the Forest Protection
Department (FPD) to remove dozens of bears from a bear bile farm in
Quang Ninh province after FPD and the Environmental Police
Department documented illegal bear bile harvesting during an

HANOI 00000104 002 OF 002


October 2009 raid. Tung complained that a letter co-signed by the
Ambassador urging the transfer of the bears to an Animals Asia bear
rescue center had irritated the MARD Minister. Tung could not
explain why the bears had not been transferred, even when many were
found not to have the mandatory microchips, and stated that the
bear bile extraction witnessed at the site may not have violated
Vietnamese law, which he claimed only criminalizes the sale of bear
bile. Frustratingly, post has heard from local NGOs that some FPD
authorities have begun to argue that bear bile removed from a bear
no longer constitutes part of the bear and therefore does not
violate Vietnamese law.
Michalak

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