A Vietnamese religious organisation, the International Buddhist Information Bureau, says that the head of a banned Buddhist church has been allowed to meet foreign diplomats for the first time in 20 years.
In a statement, the Paris-based organisation said that two envoys from the European Commission met Thich Huyen Quang last week in a Hanoi hospital where he has undergone surgery to remove a growth near his eye.
Mr. Quang, who is 86 years old, is the patriarch of the United Buddhist Church of Vietnam.
He has been under house arrest in the remote central province of Quang Ngai since 1982.
Vietnam is often accused of human rights abuses and religious restrictions, which it denies.
From the newsroom of the BBC World Service