PANO – A high-ranking delegation of the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence has paid a visit to the US and attended the UN Chiefs of Defence Conference at the UN Headquarters in New York.

The People’s Army Newspaper had an interview with Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army and also a member of the delegation, on the visit.

The general held that it was the first time the UN held a Chiefs of Defence Conference in order to discuss essential and important issues on carrying out the UN peacekeeping missions, as part of a wider process of engagement by the UN with its member states.

At the Summit on Strengthening International Peace Operations in September 2014, held as the side-event of the general debate of the 69th UN General Assembly, some 30 countries and the UN Secretary-General reviewed peace keeping operations, reaffirmed their commitment to the activity, and announced new military and police contributions. Moreover, the first regional conference on peacekeeping operations was organized in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in February 2015.

Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan.

Addressing the Chiefs of Defence Conference, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous laid stress on the event’s three targets, namely promoting awareness of environment in UN's peacekeeping efforts, discussing legitimacy for the UN peace operations in confronting global serious threats to peace and security, and finding practical assistance from the UN member countries to heighten UN peacekeeping operations’ effectiveness.

The conference also gave the participants an opportunity to meet with leaders of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and Department of Field Support (DFS) to re-affirm their countries’ commitment to UN peacekeeping missions, as well as exchange each other their mutual interests.

Addressing the conference, both Under-Secretary-General Hervé Ladsous and Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare asserted that all partners’ participation is the decisive factor in raising the UN peacekeeping operations’ efficiency in the increasingly complex operational environment.

Meanwhile, Head of the Vietnamese delegation to the conference Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Minister of National Defence, underlined the Asia-Pacific region is facing potential challenges threatening peace, stability, and security. Thus, ensuring regional peace and stability is an urgent task and needs to be discussed in the UN working agenda.

Vietnam has always strived to contribute to peace and stability, actively protested against injustice and the use of force, and worked for the benefits of the community and strictly observed international law, contributing to maintaining peace and stability in the region and the rest of the world, the Vietnamese General added.

The speech by Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh was applauded by all the participants. The head of New Zealand delegation shared that Vietnam’s approach to the global and regional peace issues clearly proved its policy of independence, self-control, and territorial integrity on the basis of international law.

Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan held that the UN has hailed Vietnam for sending troops to participate in the UN peacekeeping operations. This act shows Vietnam’s commitment and practical contributions to the work, and heightens its position in the international arena.

The UN leaders and the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan highly appreciated the first two Vietnamese officers for their efforts, suggested Vietnam to dispatch more officers to UN peacekeeping missions, and committed to continuously support Vietnam for the deployment of forces to other UN peacekeeping missions in general and the Vietnam Peacekeeping Centre to become a regional standard place for training forces of Vietnam and other countries for the UN peacekeeping operations in particular.

Vietnam has registered to join the United Nations Standby Arrangement System (UNSAS), to make the peacekeeping operations more efficient. The UNSAS is a conditional pledge by the UN member states to contribute specific resources within agreed response times and restrictions to the UN peacekeeping operations. However, the UN member states could make final decision whether to send their forces to the UN peacekeeping operations or not.

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After registering to join the UNSAS, Vietnam is officially committed to send more officers, military doctors and engineers to the UN peacekeeping missions if required. In the coming time, Vietnam will detail the staff and equipment of its units to be selected for the UN peacekeeping operations, to the UNSAS data. This would enable relevant agencies of the UN to know more about Vietnam’s capability and then offer Vietnam a proposal on taking part in the required work.

Under the System, both the UN and Vietnam could actively cooperate in dispatching forces to the UN peacekeeping missions as swift as an arrow.

Vietnam has sent the first two officers to the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan, and will dispatch three more officers to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Besides, Vietnam is willing to send more officers to other UN peacekeeping missions in different forms.

In addition, Vietnam has been actively preparing for a level-two field hospital and an engineering company to be deployed in a suitable mission at the UN’s request. Vietnam will consider other forces for participating in the UN peacekeeping operations at an appropriate time.

During the visit to the US, Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh also had talks with Senator Patrick Leahy and many senior officials of the US Departments of Defence and State in order to boost their relations and review the result of their cooperation programs in various areas in accordance with the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral defence cooperation signed in 2011.

The two sides agreed that their defence cooperation has brought real benefits, especially in overcoming consequences left behind from the war and UN peacekeeping operations, making contributions to the peace, stability and development in the region and in the world.

Translated by Van Hieu