Facebook Twitter

VIETNAM CHEERED BY REPORTS THAT U.S. WILL LIFT BAN ON LOANS

SHARE VIETNAM CHEERED BY REPORTS THAT U.S. WILL LIFT BAN ON LOANS

Vietnam reacted with cautious optimism Friday to reports that President Clinton would stop blocking loans to Hanoi by international banking institutions.

Such a decision would be a positive step in relations between the two countries and in the search for clues to the fate of U.S. soldiers still missing from the Vietnam War, a top foreign ministry official said.The United States, acting alone, has blocked offers by France and Japan to pay more than $140 million in arrears that Hanoi owes to the International Monetary Fund. If Washington drops its objections and Vietnam's debt is paid, the IMF could decide this month to make new loans to Hanoi.

Nguyen Xuan Phong, acting director of the ministry's Americas Department, told The Associated Press he had not yet received official information relating to President Clinton's expected an-nounce-ment.

"But I think that if it occurs, it conforms quite well with the desires of both the American and the Vietnamese peoples," Phong said.

Clinton is expected to announce approval of renewed IMF lending as a reward for Vietnam's increased cooperation in helping to resolve the remaining cases of the more than 2,200 Americans missing in action from the Vietnam War.