UN Security Council and Vietnam’s hallmarks

Published: 25/01/2009 05:00



Vietnam took initiative in contributing to dealing with matters that were discussed by the United Nations Security Council with independent stance, appropriate to the common trend so it was widely supported, said Ambassador Le Luong Minh.

Ambassador Le Luong Minh and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

How did Vietnam perform its responsibility as an elected member of the UNSC last year?

The world security-political situation in 2008 saw complicated developments, including happenings associated with non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, terrorism, tenseness and the rise of violence in some countries where there were already conflicts, particularly in Africa and the tenseness and conflict inside Europe.

In discussion and searching for solutions for the above situations, Vietnam always kept its independent, objective and responsible stance. In connection to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, including the case of Iran, we maintained the position of respecting the rights of countries to develop, produce and use nuclear power for peaceful purposes, opposing proliferation of nuclear weapons, supporting solving nuclear-related matters through cooperation, dialogue and opposing the use of illegitimate punitive methods that hinder normal economic and trade activities between nations.

In the case of Kosovo, we opposed the act of unilaterally stating independence, considering it a dangerous precedent in international relations. We asked the UNSC to take action suitable to Resolution 1244 (1999), under which, the new status of Kosovo must be decided through negotiation and have the agreement of all related sides.

In the case of Myanmar, we supported the cooperation of the international community, including the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with the government of Myanmar to promote dialogue and national conciliation. At the same time, we pursued the viewpoint that the fate of Myanmar must be decided by the government and the people of Myanmar.

In the case of Zimbabwe, while sharing and showing our concerns about violence caused by conflicts in election, we defended the principle of not intervening in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe, supporting the role of intermediate and conciliator of regional organisations and politicians, opposing the imposition of sanctions.

For conflicts, we always supported peaceful solutions based on basic rules of the international laws, the UN Charter, in which the most important thing is the principle of respecting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations.

The reality was different from the worries about Vietnam’s ability to deal with happenings in the international political arena in the role of an elected member of the UNSC, wasn’t it?

We have our independent viewpoint, which is based on the requirement of protecting national interests. Our national interests are appropriate to the common interests of peace and security in the region and the world.

As our interests are suitable to common interests, our suggestions were widely supported. At the beginning, Vietnam took initiative in contributing opinions to deal with all matters discussed by the UNSC.

In general, Vietnam’s peace-favouring foreign policy is suitable to the common trend. Our clear awareness of the relations between national interests and the interests of peace and security in the region and the world is the solid foundation for our activities to be appreciated at the UNSC.

Was Vietnam under pressure in dealing with conflicts in other countries while having to follow the independent principle and stance and consider its own interests?

Pressure is one way to say it. In diplomacy, we have the concept “lobby”. There are issues that the approach and viewpoints of different countries depend on the interests of each member, from direct to indirect.

It is common at the UNSC that countries don’t share the same ideas or approaches to issues. Independence, objectivity, and responsibility to the common peace and security interests of humanity, including our interests of peace and security, are the guidelines for us to deal with “lobbying”.

What event do you remember most connected to Vietnam at the UNSC in 2008?

I remember most the last day that Vietnam assumed the UNSC chairmanship in July 2008. According to the council’s rules, the country that holds the UNSC chairmanship hands over the chairmanship to another country at 12am on the last day. But on that day we had a meeting to discuss an important resolution which didn’t finish at 11pm. We even didn’t know whether that meeting would finish at 12am or not.

If the meeting couldn’t finish by 12am, it was possible that the clock would have been set back so Vietnam could still be the chairman of the UNSC till the draft resolution was voted on. This means that the vote of that resolution would have taken place on August 1 but it would have still been considered July 31.

Vietnam tried to arrange to finish the vote at 11.30pm, 30 minutes before Vietnam finished its UNSC chairmanship month. Normally, other countries finished their UNSC Chairmanship month at least one day before the last day. The last day was for a party. We had organised a party already and still assumed our responsibility till the last minute. Participating in the UNSC, we have to prepare for all circumstances.

This year is forecast to be a year of complicated changes while Vietnam will be an elected member of the UNSC till the end of 2009. In that context, what do you think about the requirement that Vietnam has to improve its forecast ability to well fulfill our responsibility?

The international security and political situation may see complicated developments in 2009. The root of conflict is poverty and impoverishment. Financial crisis, economic slowdown makes the lives of people in countries with conflicts more desperate and the situation more complicated.

Conflicts and riots have been mainly taking place in Africa, Asia, Latin America or the developing world. Now tenseness and conflicts happen in the heart of Europe, for example the Balkans or Caucasus. Terrorist activities are taking place more frequently and more dangerously.

We need to research and have accurate forecasts to come up with appropriate solutions through which we can contribute practically to maintaining peace and security in the region and the world and improve the role and position of Vietnam.

Xuan Linh

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