US refuses to compensate Agent Orange victims

The United States says it will not compensate Vietnam’s Agent Orange victims but will instead offer the latest scientific information and technical advice to deal with the effects of the chemical.
The Vietnamese Government raised the issue of compensation in talks with US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Hanoi.
Millions of Vietnamese have continued to suffer illness and birth defects in the 31 years since the end of the Vietnam War.
Vietnam’s Government says those problems were caused by the spraying of the chemical dioxin by US forces.
Known as Agent Orange, it had the effect of destroying crops and killing forests, where guerrillas had hidden during the conflict in south Vietnam.
The US compensates its own veterans for the effects caused by exposure to Agent Orange but says it will provide only scientific and technical advice to the Vietnamese Government.
A group of Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange lost a damages case against the American manufacturers of the chemical last year and are now appealing against the US court decision.
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