The UK Government has committed to continuing to support Vietnam in dealing with the consequences of unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from the war beyond 2014.
The commitment was made by UK Minister of State for International Development Alan Duncan at an October 21 working session with a Vietnamese delegation from the National Action Programme on Settling Consequences of Unexploded Ordnance (known as Programme 504) led by Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam.
Duncan affirmed that his country will continue helping Vietnamese UXO victims as well as assisting in clearing bombs and mines, collecting information about the contamination, and raising the community’s awareness of UXO.
The Vietnamese side proposed signing a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in this field to create a basis for further expanding joint activities in the time ahead.
Vietnam also asked the UK to back the establishment of a group of sponsors for the settlement of UXO consequences, as well as canvass support from other countries and international organisations, especially the United Nations and World Bank, for Vietnam to deal with the issue.
Over the past five years, the UK Government has helped with bomb and mine clearance in Vietnam through the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a humanitarian non-governmental group which has operated in Vietnam since 1999, mainly in the central region. At present, MAG is still the biggest NGO operating in this field in Vietnam .
The UK ’s current action programme on supporting bomb and mine clearance in Vietnam , including a 4.8 million USD project implemented by MAG in central Quang Tri province, will end on March 31, 2014 . The next programme is scheduled to last between two and three years.-VNA