Agent/Orange testimony in Washington successful

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VOV News English - 57 month(s) ago 13 readings

Agent/Orange testimony in Washington successful

Delegates at the hearing (Photo: VNA) US Congressman Eni Faleomaveaga, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, has declared a hearing on Agent Orange/dioxin in Washington DC on July 15 a success. He told the Vietnam News Agency that presentations and responses by Vietnamese and American testifiers at this third AO hearing provided US congressmen with the information they need on AO-related issues in Vietnam as the lawmakers consider further assistance. In his testimony, Matthew Palmer, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said that since 2001 the governments of the US and Vietnam have worked together to address potential environmental and health issues related to Agent Orange/dioxin. “Over the last several years, the United States has worked with Vietnam to ensure that our Agent Orange activities align with Vietnamese health and environmental objectives,” said Palmer. “This cooperation has brought us closer than ever to the permanent elimination of dioxin at Danang Airport and has allowed us to provide much-needed assistance to vulnerable populations.” According to Palmer, Agent Orange has long been a sensitive topic in bilateral relations, and the two countries have had some past challenges reaching agreement on how and where to cooperate. “…But we are now transforming dialogue into tangible improvements in the environment and health of the people of Vietnam,” he said. “The US Government has demonstrated a firm commitment to working to find a resolution to this lingering concern and to ensuring the continued improvement of US-Vietnam relations.” Testifying before the committee, Dr John Wilson, a senior official of the US Agency for International Development (USAid), said that despite strong economic growth, Vietnam still faces significant environmental and development challenges, including dioxin contamination hotspots at various locations across the co

He told the Vietnam News Agency that presentations and responses by Vietnamese and American testifiers at this third AO hearing provided US congressmen with the information they need on AO-related issues in Vietnam as the lawmakers consider further assistance.

In his testimony, Matthew Palmer, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said that since 2001 the governments of the US and Vietnam have worked together to address potential environmental and health issues related to Agent Orange/dioxin.

“Over the last several years, the United States has worked with Vietnam to ensure that our Agent Orange activities align with Vietnamese health and environmental objectives,” said Palmer. “This cooperation has brought us closer than ever to the permanent elimination of dioxin at Danang Airport and has allowed us to provide much-needed assistance to vulnerable populations.”

According to Palmer, Agent Orange has long been a sensitive topic in bilateral relations, and the two countries have had some past challenges reaching agreement on how and where to cooperate.

“…But we are now transforming dialogue into tangible improvements in the environment and health of the people of Vietnam,” he said. “The US Government has demonstrated a firm commitment to working to find a resolution to this lingering concern and to ensuring the continued improvement of US-Vietnam relations.”

Testifying before the committee, Dr John Wilson, a senior official of the US Agency for International Development (USAid), said that despite strong economic growth, Vietnam still faces significant environmental and development challenges, including dioxin contamination hotspots at various locations across the country.

“… we also recognise that the US can do more, including with respect to dioxin remediation, which will have a significant benefit to our bilateral relations,” said Wilson, who is Director of the Office of Technical Support Asia and Middle East Bureaus under USAid.

He called on the US Congress to continue its commitment to dioxin remediation in Vietnam.

“The US government can make a big difference. We can be a leader on this issue and make a significant impact in the lives of many Vietnamese.”

Dr Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, Vice President of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), called on the US Congress, veterans and non-governmental organizations to assist more than 3 million Vietnamese AO victims by providing resources for medical services, rehabilitation and education centers for the victims, and help Vietnam quickly clean up areas with high levels of contamination.

She demanded that American firms which produced and supplied defoliants containing dioxin to US troops to spray in southern Vietnam accept their responsibility and support the victims.

She said a prompt and effective move by Congress to support the victims is the right step now toward healing the wounds of the war, particularly when both nations are making serious efforts to build peaceful and friendly relations.

Faleomaveaga, who out forward and chaired all three hearings, said the testimony of Dr Phuong contained convincing scientific arguments.

Tran Thi Hoan, a Vietnamese AO victim, told participants how her compatriots have been struggling to cope with the lingering pain they suffer every day and what they need from the international community.

She expressed her hope that US chemical companies would do the right thing and compensate the unfortunate victims, calling it a humane and humanitarian issue.

She called on the US government and its citizens to help young Vietnamese affected by the toxic chemicals to fulfill their dream of getting married and finding employment, and of course living in peace.

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