|06HANOI823||2006-04-11 10:44:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Hanoi|
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UNCLAS HANOI 000823
1. (SBU) Summary: The MFA is in charge of preparing the
political ground for Vietnam's eventual participation in
international peacekeeping operations, which means winning
internal consensus and gaining public opinion support.
Neither task is complete yet, and the internal consensus-
building will not be possible until Vietnam's new leadership
slate is in place, which will not happen before June.
Vietnam will thus be unable to make a Darfur PKO
contribution commitment before the April 24 deadline. End
2. (SBU) One day after informing the Embassy that a meeting
"would not be possible now" on the subject of possible
Vietnamese support for a Darfur PKO mission (reftels), the
MFA invited Poloff to discuss the subject with International
Organizations Department Section Chief Pham Vinh Quang.
Poloff presented Ref B demarche, which Quang characterized
as "encouraging." "The U.S. commitment to Darfur is good to
hear," Quang said.
3. (SBU) Unfortunately, Quang said, Vietnam will probably
not make the April 24 deadline to commit troops or equipment
for the UN force. "We are still in the stage of collecting
information and discussing it within the Government," he
explained. "This is a political decision that will be made
at the very top, and will require consensus among all of the
major foreign policy officials."
4. (SBU) In theory, Quang continued, Vietnam is already
committed to the idea of contributing something to one or
more international peacekeeping operations. "After some
years of stability, Vietnam is ready to make a greater
contribution internationally. This is linked to our desire
to serve as a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council
beginning in 2008." Vietnam will start modestly, he
predicted, with "observers, a military medical team or a
demining team." For now, however, Vietnam is still
collecting information and building internal consensus.
5. (SBU) The GVN also has to take public opinion into
account, he said. The only modern Vietnamese experience
with sending troops internationally was the 1978 invasion of
Cambodia (or, as Quang put it, "Vietnam's period of
assistance to its Cambodian brothers"). Public opinion is
still not positive about that effort, he said. The GVN does
not want to risk casualties, and so there needs to be
"careful preparation" both militarily and politically. The
MFA, with Vice Foreign Minister Le Van Bang as the lead
official, is in charge of political preparation, including
winning internal support. The Ministry of Defense is in
charge of physically preparing the troops for an overseas
6. (SBU) Quang apologized that the desired April 24 deadline
will not be possible to meet. "We have not finished the
preparation," he explained, "and the final decisionmakers
will be the leaders chosen and ratified by the 10th Party
Congress in April and the National Assembly in May and June.
We cannot expect an answer before then."