C O N F I D E N T I A L BRUSSELS 000493
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2016
TAGS: LA PHUM PREF PREL TH USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE TO EC ON HMONG CHILDREN
REF: A. SECSTATE 19444
Â¶B. VIENTIANE 00168
Classified By: PRM OFFICER MARC MEZNAR FOR REASONS 1.4 (B & D)
Â¶1. (SBU) PRM Assistant delivered reftel A. talking points and
met with the European Commission's, South East Asia
Administrator at DG RELEX, Ulla Olsson, on February 9. Olsson
admitted that she had only become aware of the situation
concerning the Hmong children about a month ago. She
indicated that there has been much activity on the part of
the French Embassy in Vientiane since the unfolding of the
situation and that the Austrian Presidency was relying on the
existing European presence in Vientiane to take action since
they have no presence in the country. The French have taken
a "soft" approach in their dealings with the Laotian
government on this issue since they are concerned about the
potential for a negative reaction. They want to keep the
dialogue opened until the children are found.
Â¶2. (C) Olsson indicated that the Laotian government officials
have come back to the French with the response that they
don't know exactly where the Hmong children are located at
this time but once they are found they are willing to allow
access. She indicated that this situation is difficult
because the Hmong children lack official identity documents.
She was in agreement that the international community should
be allowed access to ensure the health and safety of the
Hmong children pending resolution of their status. She also
indicated that she had heard through her channels that there
was an offer from the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane to shelter
the children once they are found.
Â¶3. (C) Olsson stated that the EU is concerned about the
situation. She informed me that she anticipated a EU Troika
demarche to Thailand would be released by the Council as
early as Friday, February 10. This demarche is an attempt to
find out why the Thai government deported the Hmong children
to Laos and to open a dialogue to find a solution. Reftel B.
confirms that EU demarches were, in fact, delivered to both
Bangkok and Vientiane on February 10.