Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., has written a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to fire David Shear, the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, for “sidelining” human-rights issues in the country.
Wolf says Shear failed to fulfill his promise to invite prominent human rights and religious freedom activists to the embassy's July 4th party. Shear made the promise after a stormy congressional hearing in May, Wolf says, according to The Hill
During the hearing, the wife of a U.S. citizen said Shear hadn't contacted her since the arrest of her husband, democracy activist Nguyen Quoc Quan, on terrorism charges in Vietnam a month earlier.
“Late last week it was brought to my attention that many of the most prominent democracy and human rights activists in Vietnam were not invited to the event,” Wolf wrote in the letter. “These reports seemed starkly at odds with the assurances I had personally received from Ambassador Shear.”
Wolf says Shear won’t tell him who was invited to the July 4th reception without clearing it through the State Department, which could take several weeks. Wolf says Shear told him he needed to strike a “balance” in who he invited to the celebration.
“Ambassador Shear's entire handling of this issue has been unacceptable,” Wolf wrote. “He showed little to no initiative in the case of Dr. Quan. Then, after appearing to recognize the short-sightedness of this approach, he agreed to host an Independence Day event at the embassy attended by human rights and democracy activists, only to go back on his word and mislead me about his intentions.”
And then after that, when Shear was asked for more information about the guest list, “he was uncooperative at best and obstructionist at worst,” Wolf wrote. He represents a district in northern Virginia that is home to many Vietnamese-Americans.
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