General News: Canadian General Tours Vietnam for Landmine Clearance Assistance (VIETNAM)
Canadian General, Maurice Baril leading the Canada's Mine Action Team paid a working visit to Vietnam from November 12-16 for wartime landmine and unexploded explosive (UXO) clearance assistances.
"During our visit to Vietnam, we discussed measures to help Vietnam eliminate landmines left over from wars and confirm potential support for the country when it joins the Ottawa Convention," Maurice Baril.
Although the Vietnam-America War ended 30 years ago, mines and UXO still kill a lot of innocent Vietnamese people daily, said the general at a press conference held on November 16 in Hanoi.
During Baril's stay, he met with representatives from Vietnam's Ministries of Diplomatic Relations, Defence, Labor, War Invalid and Social Affairs, committees of the National Assembly to assure that Vietnam is free from mine production and use, and has no plans to manufacture or use the wartime ordnances in the future, which complies with the convention's obligations.
Especially, Baril noted that Vietnam still reserves its right to use mines in the future if national security and survival is at stake.
Baril also revealed that Canada has participated in a five-year UNICEF-funded project of mine risk education, which benefited many countries including Vietnam.
The Convention, which prohibits a country ratified it from using, storing, producing and transferring anti-personnel mines, was first signed by 122 countries at a conference held on December 1997 in Ottawa. At present, 147 countries or 75 % of the world's nations have renounced the use of landmines.
According to the US military, more than 15 million tons of bombs, mines, artillery shells and other kinds of munitions were used during the Vietnam War. It is estimated that up to 10% of these ordnance failed to explode on impact.
Vietnam will need about $10.6 billion to clean up an estimated 800,000 tons of UXO and an additional 3.5 million landmines still scattered across the country.
At present, 35 non-government organizations are helping Vietnam to conduct landmine clearance, education and rehabilitation activities.
Von: 17 November 2005 (Vietnam News Brief Service), Toan Viet Limited Company