Aussies up­set over Viet­nam de­ci­sion to can­cel cer­e­mony

The Myanmar Times - - World -

VIET­NAM can­celled a long-ar­ranged com­mem­o­ra­tion cer­e­mony for Aus­tralian war vet­er­ans yes­ter­day in a move Can­berra de­scribed as “a kick in the guts” that it is seek­ing to over­turn.

More than 1000 vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies had trav­elled to Viet­nam to mark the 50th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Long Tan to­day.

“We have been work­ing with the Vietnamese gov­ern­ment for over 18 months for this, to­wards mak­ing sure that this com­mem­o­ra­tion took place in a low-key, dig­ni­fied and re­spect­ful way,” Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Min­is­ter Dan Te­han said.

“For us to be given such short no­tice of the cancellation is, to put it in very frank terms, a kick in the guts,” he said from Can­berra.

The Bat­tle of Long Tan took place on Au­gust 18, 1966, and was the costli­est sin­gle bat­tle fought by Aus­tralian sol­diers in the Viet­nam War. Seven­teen Aus­tralians were killed in ac­tion.

Mr Te­han said he was bit­terly dis­ap­pointed at the de­ci­sion which he said “should not have oc­curred”.

“My hope is that the Vietnamese gov­ern­ment will over­turn it,” he said, adding that Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull hoped to speak to his Vietnamese coun­ter­part about it. –

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