|Timothy Lieser, senior advisor at the US Senate Appropriations Committee (Photo: VNA)
In an interview with Vietnam News Agency’s correspondents in the US, Lieser, who is also foreign policy assistant at Senator Patrick Leahy’s Office, said he understood the war pain through what he witnessed during his visits to Vietnam.
Like some US Senators such as Patrick Leahy and late Senator John McCain, he saw the need to work to support both sides in overcoming consequences of the war and help Vietnamese people who still are suffering from the war pain.
Lieser shared difficulties in the beginning as not every American understands the huge damage that the war left in Vietnam as well as the significance of reconciliation.
Furthermore, some members of the US administration even opposed the implementation of the work, and argued that it was necessary to focus on US matters and the demands of US war veterans rather than that of other country.
However, that was the right time to help the community and US people to get better understanding in historical matters between the two countries as well as the need to put aside the past to build trust and bilateral cooperation, he stated.
According to Lieser, in early 1980s, there were prospects and opportunities to collaborate with Vietnam in the field as bilateral trust was improved and projects to support Vietnam were launched.
US Senator Patrick Leahy paid great attention to the work and ensured that there was always budget for programmes in Vietnam.
Through years, more and more people have come to know the post-war catastrophe that both nations have been suffering, and supported the work that those like Senator Leahy have been doing over the past 30 years.
According to Lieser, over the past years, the US and Vietnam has reached encouraging results in a number of issues such as searching for US and Vietnamese soldiers missing in action.
The US side has supported the Vietnamese Government in improving technique to search for remains of Vietnamese soldiers, dealing with unexploded ordnances and assisting the disabled people in areas contaminated with Agent Orange/dioxin and those who get injured by leftover bombs and mines.
However, there are still much to do and the two sides should continue cooperate with each other to further promote assistance programmes in Vietnam, including the decontamination of dioxin a Bien Hoa airport.
Lierser said that the US considers dealing with war aftermath as a priority in the relations with Vietnam along with other priorities in trade, security cooperation, environment, and climate change, as stated by US leaders during their visits to Vietnam.
The US will continue implementing its commitments to assisting Vietnam in overcoming war consequences, he added.