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U.S., VIETS EXCHANGE DATA ON MIAS

Vietnam and the United States reported several small breakthroughs Friday in the mammoth task of pinpointing what happened to thousands of their soldiers killed decades ago in the Vietnam War.

Vietnam announced it had unearthed the remains of 95 communist soldiers in a mass grave near Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, thanks to information from U.S. veterans.U.S. army experts trying to determine the fate of 2,229 Americans missing in action from the war said they believed they had cracked the first of 84 "special remains" cases.

And U.S. veterans, trying to help Vietnam trace its 300,000 MIAs, handed over maps, photographs, documents, a metal flask and other battlefield souvenirs they said could help locate more mass graves from the war, which ended in 1975.

"We believe the information we are providing you with today will help account for 1,250 or more fallen soldiers," James Brazee, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America organization, told Vietnamese army officers.

The Americans believed one mass grave contained 650 bodies, another 316, a third about 100 and others fewer corpses, Brazee said.

It was the second batch of war souvenirs handed in by U.S. veterans and given to Vietnam this year in an initiative intended to help heal the wounds of war.

Colonel Nguyen Manh Dau, head of social policy at Vietnam's Defense Ministry, said the first batch delivered in May resulted in discovery of a mass grave in Tay Ninh province near Ho Chi Minh City where the remains of 95 communist soldiers killed in 1969 were unearthed last month.