The Vietnamese government has decided to take part in an international conference on the refugee problem in South-East Asia.
The Vietnamese government has decided to take part in an international conference on the refugee problem in South-East Asia. This decision came on Thursday (21 June), only hours after Vietnamese Ambassador, Mr. Ha Van Lau, had informed UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim that such a conference was useless and without justification. However, Hanoi's Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Hoang Bich Son, stipulated that Vietnam would participate only if the conference was held under the auspices of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.
SYNOPSIS: In the Vietnamese Embassy in Paris, spokesman Mr. Thien Can Tran spoke about the conference and Vietnam's position regarding the refugees fleeing their country.
Mr. Can announced that his government was well aware of the problem the Vietnamese refugees were causing the countries in South-East Asia. he said that Hanoi would do everything possible to co-operate with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) to help resolve the problem.
Mr. Can said that his government's position on the fleeing refugees was one of humanitarian politics. Vietnam, he said had permitted those who wished to, to leave to join families or earn a living, once they had completed the necessary formalities. But, he added, those who were responsible for organising the wholesale exodus would be punished according to Vietnamese law.
South-East Asian and Western nations have urged United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim to convene a conference on the refugees, but they envisaged a much broader agenda than Vietnam proposes. Mr. Can repeated that his Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Son, had said the day before -- that Hanoi was only interested in the High Commission conference, involving only directly concerned countries and with the seven-point programme Vietnam set up with UNHCR, last month. Mr. Son had said all other kinds of international conferences were designed merely to cover up the crimes of U.S. imperialists and Peking reactionaries.