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US congressional leaders urge Vietnam to match economic progress with political reforms

January 3, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008 02:37 AM

HANOI (AP) – A high-ranking congressional delegation led by U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer praised Vietnam’s economic reforms on Thursday and urged the communist nation to match them with human rights reforms.”We think that freedom of individuals and free markets go together and complement one another,” said Rep. Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat and the second-ranking leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Hoyer led a 13-member delegation that also included House Minority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, the No. 2-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives.

They met with President Nguyen Minh Triet, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and leaders of Vietnam’s National Assembly.

The delegation arrived as Vietnam begins a two-year term on the U.N. Security Council.

“Vietnam is increasingly important, and our relationship is important,” Hoyer said.