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World: U.S. Welcomes Release Of Vietnamese Dissident

Washington, 8 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. State Department has welcomed the release of a leading Vietnamese dissident, Pham Duc Kham, who was imprisoned for more than six years.

Spokesman James Foley said the U.S. was heartened and pleased to hear that Kham has been permitted to leave Vietnam and will join his family in the United States.

Foley said the Vietnamese government's action contributes to the overall improvement of bilateral relations with the United States.

He said the U.S. and Vietnamese governments have a continuing dialogue about human rights and issues involving political freedoms and that Washington would welcome more releases of political prisoners of conscience.

Kham, 65, was jailed in 1990 and serving a 12-year sentence for circulating a clandestine democracy newsletter called Freedom Forum. He was released last week and was expected to travel to America at the weekend. His family lives in San Francisco on America's West coast.