Funding for Agent Orange/dioxin projects still inadequate

Published: 07/09/2009 05:00



LookAtVietnam – The vice chairman of the NA’s Foreign Affairs Committee talked with VietNamNet ahead of the Vietnam-US joint conference on AO/dioxin from September 8-10.

Mr. Ngo Quang Xuan.
While the US on occasion still disregards its responsibility in resolving consequences of AO/dioxin in Vietnam, it cannot be said that Vietnam-US relations have been normalised completely, the vice chairman of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee Ngo Quang Xuan told VietNamNet ahead of the Vietnam-US joint conference on AO/dioxin in Hanoi from September 8-10.

VietNamNet: Vietnam-US multi-faceted cooperation has achieved good results. However, war aftermaths, including consequences of AO/dioxin, are still an issue in the bilateral relationship. What is the significance of this issue?

Ngo Quang Xuan: In 1995, 20 years after the Vietnam War, Vietnam and the US began normalising bilateral relations in many fields. Though the two sides’ viewpoints on some matters are still different from each other, in general the results have been encouraging. There are some fields witnessing high normalising paces, such as economic and trade ties.

The two countries have also successful cooperated on many sensitive and humanitarian issues, including the search for American servicemen missing in action (MIA), Vietnamese-American mixed blood children, family reunions and others.

Regretfully, dealing with the consequences of AO/dioxin, which has caused pain to many Vietnamese families, has been recently put on the agenda of some official forums. While the US continues to occasionally disregard its responsibility in resolving this issue with Vietnam, we can’t say that the ties between the US and Vietnam have been normalised completely.

In a recent conference in the US, members of the Vietnam-US Dialogue on AO/Dioxin called for the development of a long-term plan to deal with the consequences of AO/Dioxin in Vietnam. Is the draft of this plan available?

We have just introduced the initial idea for a comprehensive plan. The most important task is defining the long-term goal of the plan. In my opinion, the plan should have three major goals. Firstly, raising common awareness, especially of US policymakers, about the damaging effects of AO/dioxin in Vietnam.

Secondly, cleaning up the areas infected with AO. Thirdly, initiating measures to help AO/dioxin victims and their families.

VietNamNet: The biggest concern is seeking funding for resolving the consequences of AO/dioxin in Vietnam. What do we do about this?

An AO child victim at the Peace Village in Hanoi.

Xuan: The impacts of AO/dioxin on Vietnam’s environment and people are huge, and require a significant amount of capital. The Vietnamese government has tried its best to settle this matter with the assistance of local and international organisations and many countries in the world.

The US Congress and administration recently approved a $3 million grant for projects to decontaminate the Da Nang Airport and to assist some centres for AO victims in Vietnam.

These projects have helped relieve the pain of some AO victims but they are modest compared to the actual requirements. We need a comprehensive programme worth hundreds of million US dollars to quickly and effectively mitigate the AO disaster.

VietNamNet: You have participated in a hearing at the US House of Representatives on AO/dioxin and conferences of the Vietnam-US Dialogue Group for AO/Dioxin. What do you think about the awareness of the US political circle in dealing with AO/dioxin in Vietnam?

Xuan: I think improving awareness is key in any process to solve an issue. This is also the priority of the Vietnam-US Dialogue Group, an initiative suggested by the Ford Foundation three years ago.

The group’s activities have effectively contributed to gradually raising the awareness of the US political circle about the situation of the aftermath of AO/dioxin use in Vietnam. Later is better than never! I believe that once this humanitarian issue is realised properly, we can mobilise more sources for AO/dioxin projects.

Xuan Linh

Provide by Vietnam Travel

Funding for Agent Orange/dioxin projects still inadequate - Interviews - In depth |  vietnam travel company

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