Vietnam government promises to return disputed building

Vietnamese government officials, meeting earlier this week with leaders of Hanoi’s Catholic Church, said they would return the former Vatican embassy to the church if it stops the demonstrations that have occupied the site in recent weeks, according to a priest who attended the session.
Father Peter Thanh, a priest from the diocese of Saigon, said Deputy Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van Huong promised to resolve the issue ”step by step,” ending with the transfer of the property to the church.
In some of the largest open protests ever seen in Communist Vietnam, hundreds of Catholic clergy and their followers have staged repeated vigils at the site since Dec. 18. Church leaders say the building, which housed the Vatican’s embassy beginning in 1950, was illegally confiscated from the Vietnamese Catholic Church, and have been asking for its return for three years.
The building is in the center of Hanoi tourist district, where land prices run well over $1,000 per square meter.


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