Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam is preparing a contingency of 268 military engineers to be sent to war-torn South Sudan as the next step of its commitment to UN peacekeeping efforts, deputy defence minister Nguyễn Chí Vịnh has said.
The move comes following the deployment of 29 individual officers and the first field hospital level 2 to South Sudan late last year.
The Politburo has agreed in principle to the defence ministry’s plan to deploy its engineers, Vịnh said at Monday meeting held in Hà Nội to review preparations and resolve difficulties for the move.
Vịnh said Việt Nam has completed registration at the UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS), through which the UN Secretariat would assess the readiness of the units the member state pledged.
Hoàng Kim Phụng, head of the Việt Nam Peacekeeping Department, said English and French language courses are being organised for the engineers.
Việt Nam is in talks with the UN and the UK to ensure a smooth transition when Vietnamese military engineers arrive to replace their British counterparts when their tour of duty ends in February next year.
Currently, five country candidates are being considered to fill this position, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Việt Nam (the three that have received initial approval from the UN), China and Croatia, but these two have not turned in their applications.
The UN has said it fully supports Việt Nam’s application if the country meets all requirements regarding capacity, personnel and equipment.
According to General Vịnh, there is a lot of ground to cover, especially in terms of purchasing required equipment.
General Vịnh asked the agencies to expedite the plan to prepare personnel and equipment in line with UN’s State of Unit Requirements to ensure approval from UN and be ready to deploy the contingency by June this year.
The Việt Nam Peacekeeping Department would need to work with diplomatic agencies in requesting the South Korean, French, and British authorities to hold training courses for Vietnamese contingent.
Also on Monday, Colonel Nguyễn Như Cảnh, deputy director of the Việt Nam Peacekeeping Department, said the country is expecting to send more officers and doctors in October to replace the current contingency of the level 2 field hospital, the first activity of its peacekeeping efforts under UN’s auspices in South Sudan.
Cảnh was leading a Vietnamese military delegation to Australia to learn planning and preparations experience from the country with a long-standing history of participation in UN peacekeeping efforts. — VNS