Tuesday, March 27, 2007

U.S. legislator demands ambassador be fired

A senior Republican congressman, Frank Wolf of Virginia, has demanded that U.S. ambassador to Vietnam Michael Marine be fired for not protesting strongly enough the upcoming trial of Fr. Nguyen Van Ly. “Why aren't our ambassadors speaking out?” he asked at a House appropriations subcommittee hearing. “I think the ambassador ought to be fired."

Tom Casey, deputy spokesman at the State Department, replied that “the issues of promoting human rights, promoting religious freedom in Vietnam are something that is important to this administration, that the embassy works on every day.” Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice testified in another hearing that "human rights is going to have to be a very big part of our agenda, and we'll continue to press the case.”

From my experience, I believe Ambassador Marine has been responsive to human rights concerns in Vietnam, perhaps more so than his predecessors.

Source: Associated Press, March 27.


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