Ambassador Ngo Quang Xuan, vice chairman of the Vietnam National Assembly Committee for External Affairs, and chairman of the Vietnam-US Dialogue Group, talked about the dialogue in an interview granted to a Washington DC-based VOV correspondent.
VOV: Would you please give us a brief on the result of this dialogue?
Mr Xuan: The dialogue group serves as a channel to promote mutual understanding and help the US public become better informed about the toxic chemicals used by American troops in Vietnam that need to be addressed adequately.
It aims to deal with human health – related and environmental issues, especially the remediation of contaminated soil. It also aims to raise awareness of the toxic chemicals among Americans, especially policy-makers in congress and the administration, so that they will introduce effective measures, cooperate with and provide assistance to Vietnam to deal with the issues.
I think this dialogue was successful because it outlined tasks for the group in the coming time.
VOV: Could you further elaborate on the success of the dialogue?
Mr Xuan: Both sides agreed to speed up the implementation of programmes, plans and specific projects among the five priority areas identified by the group. They discussed cooperation programmes between their scientific research agencies and worked out plans of action for the group. If these plans are carried out effectively, they will help solve pending issues related to the US spraying of Agent Orange/Dioxin over Vietnam.
VOV: Was this dialogue different from the previous three?
Mr Xuan: The scale of the dialogue was rather large in terms of the contents and modes of discussions, including those between the governments and mass organsations of both sides. The dialogue also saw a record number of participants, including US officials and political, social and humanitarian activists.
VOV: What are the unsolved issues and solutions?
Mr Xuan: We have not yet fully mobilised all recourses to make an accurate assessment of Agent Orange/dioxin contamination in Vietnam and worked out solutions. This is simply because it is such a massive undertaking, and financial support is still limited. This is what needs to be addressed as we move forward./.