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Submitted by ctv_en_6 on Fri, 06/05/2009 - 12:42
A second hearing on Vietnamese Agent Orange/Dioxin victims was held successfully by the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment on June 4 (Hanoi time).

The Vietnamese representatives included Ambassador Ngo Quang Xuan, vice chairman of the Vietnam National Assembly Committee for External Affairs, and chairman of the Vietnam-US Dialogue Group and professor Vo Quy representing Vietnamese scientists and many other Vietnamese witnesses.

The hearing was also attended by Scot A. Marciel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southeast Asia and Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs, and US scientists and representatives from a number of international organisations.

In his opening speech, US representative Eni Faleomavaega, chairman of the hearing subcommittee said the US army sprayed nearly 80 million litres of toxic chemicals during the US war in Vietnam, resulting in millions of Vietnamese people becoming victims of AO/Dioxin.

At the hearing, Vietnamese and US scientists and witnesses read a report on the harmful effects of the toxic chemicals on the Vietnamese people and the environment. Witnesses also responded to many related questions and made recommendations to US politicians.

Mr Marciel said that US-Vietnam cooperation in AO/Dioxin related issues has proved fairly effective, surpassing the limited takes held by the Vietnam-US Dialogue Group and that the US Government will try its best to resolve AO/Dioxin issues in an open and effective manner.

Mary Dolan, deputy head of the US national organisation for the disabled, said that the US Government should continue to provide assistance for humanitarian activities in Vietnam. In the future, the US should be more responsible for this issue as it has already provided technical assistance and foreign aid, she added.

Prof. Vo Quy appeared at the hearing as a witness to evaluate the results of the second hearing. He confirmed that the second hearing was in more detail in comparison with the first one, attracting a large number of participants and drawing the attention of many people. “I think that it is necessary to raise the US administration and people’s awareness of the terrible consequences caused by Agent Orange so that they can voice their support for Vietnamese victims. We also need more support from people in other countries to help Vietnam overcome serious consequences of the chemical warfare waged in the country,” he said.

Assessing the second hearing, Ambassador Ngo Quang Xuan said: “The second hearing took place in a context where Vietnam and the US are experiencing positive developments in their relationship and cooperation in various fields. Most delegates agreed that the remaining issue is to help Vietnam overcome the war consequences.”

He went on to say that this hearing will help members of the US Congress to get a better understanding of the issue. “As usual, awareness leads to action. The hearing provided a great deal of information from different angles for members of the US Congress, as well as other US organisations. It was also of great significance to boost Vietnam-US relations,” he noted.

The first hearing was held last year with the theme: “Our Forgotten Responsibility: What Can We Do to Help Victims of Agent Orange?”

The second hearing reaffirmed the need for closer cooperation with the US to resolve Agent Orange-related issues in Vietnam.

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