Major General Vu Cuong Quyet, Director of the Ministry of National Defense (MND)’s Institute for Defense Strategy, and Dr. Alison Weston, Head of the European External Action Service’s Division for Partnerships and Task Force NATO, co-chaired the event.

Scene at the meeting

The conference aimed to raise awareness of and mutual understanding about peacekeeping policies and crisis management, improve capability in the field of peacekeeping and knowledge in the common security and defense policy, and demonstrate Vietnam’s goodwill in promoting defense cooperation with the E.U.

In the meantime, it was an opportunity to promote competence among Vietnamese personnel who will participate in the E.U. Training Mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM RCA), as well as those who will engage in U.N. peacekeeping operations and crisis management activities, in accordance with the E.U.’s common security and defense policy.

According to Colonel Pham Tan Phong, VNDPKO’s Deputy Director, the importance of the exchange contributed to beefing up sustainable relationships and bilateral defense cooperation in the coming time. Vietnam and the E.U. always show their commitment to establishing peace and security in the region as well as in the world, in the spirit of making defense cooperation a pillar of the bilateral relations. It was demonstrated when they two sides inked the Framework Participation Agreement (FPA). The field of peacekeeping operations, in particular, has been one of the highlights of the bilateral collaboration in recent years.

Major General Vu Cuong Quyet (right) and Colonel Pham Tan Phong (left) at the event

However, besides initial achievements in participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations so far, Vietnam has not yet officially joined the E.U.’s crisis management efforts. As a result, Vietnam wishes to study more about the E.U. common security and defense strategy, noted General Quyet. Vietnam has recognized the efficacy of this program and is gradually sending personnel to EUTM RCA to join this field. The Vietnamese MND is completing all preparations to dispatch the first two officers to the EUTM RCA in response to an official letter from the E.U.

Regarding this field, the E.U. experts at the event pointed out that the first difficulty that Vietnamese personnel are facing is language barrier. To better fulfill their assigned tasks, they should master both English and French. The E.U. experts also voiced their hope that the Vietnamese officers would be able to complete any assigned missions with their outstanding knowledge and competence.

Defense attachés of France, Germany, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic at the meeting

Amid the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, the meeting helped promote mutual understanding and cooperation between Vietnam and the E.U. in the future. It provided Vietnam with invaluable experience prior to its official participation in the E.U.’s crisis management activities while further partaking in U.N. peacekeeping operations, concluded General Quyet.

Translated by Minh Anh