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Apr 28, 2022 / 20:07

First Vietnamese Army Engineer Unit leaves for peacekeeping missions in Abyei

Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the country is making efforts to contribute more to the UN Peacekeeping Missions.

A group of 247 Vietnamese officers has left Hanoi for the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in Abyei, the theater of a long-running conflict in Africa, and South Sudan.

 Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Vietnam’s Defense Minister Phan Van Giang, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie with peacekeepers on April 27. Photo: UNDP Vietnam 

Of the total, 184 officers are from the Military Engineering Unit Rotation 1 and 63 others belong to the Level-2 Field Hospital Rotation 4. Their deployment got great support from the Government of Australia. 

This is the first time Vietnam sent military engineers to join the UN peacekeeping operations, the engineers will deploy at the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). The Vietnamese peacekeepers will work as UN Military Observers (UNMO), senior staff officers, and for civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) in Abyei, a contested enclave between the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan.

Vietnam’s Engineers Unit will contribute to providing humanitarian assistance, contributing to peacekeeping and national reconstruction in countries of conflict, and at the same time contributing to the defense of the Fatherland preemptively in peacetime, said the country's leaders. 

UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen with peacekeepers. Photo: UNDP Vietnam  

Attending the deployment ceremony held on April 27 were Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Minister of Defense Phan Van Giang, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen, Ambassadors of Australia, France, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the US, and foreign military attachés to Vietnam.

Addressing the departure ceremony, President Phuc who is also Chairman of the National Defense and Security Council and Commander-in-chief of the people’s armed forces, reminded peacekeepers of the Vietnamese army’s proud tradition and bravery as well as Vietnamese good characteristics to make their missions possible. He thanked international partners for their support of Vietnam’s peacekeeping missions and expected more of Vietnam’s contributions to the UN peacekeeping performance.

Phuc affirmed that peacekeeping is one of the key pillars of Vietnam’s defense diplomacy over the past eight years.

To facilitate the Engineering Unit in UNISFA, some UN ships came to Haiphong Port, Vietnam in early April to carry 2,000 tons of equipment to Africa.

So far, Australia is one of the leading supporters of Vietnam’s contributions to the UN Peacekeeping Missions.

According to Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie, Australia and Vietnam signed the Implementing Arrangement on Peacekeeping Cooperation in 2015 to promote professional development in peace operations training and education. Under this, Australia supports Vietnam’s Level 2 Field Hospital deployed in the UN Mission in South Sudan by providing specialist peacekeeping training and equipment. They have also provided a strategic airlift for all three rotations and provided in-country English language training to peacekeeping personnel prior to deployment.

 Ambassador Robyn Mudie farewells a female peacekeeper deploying as part of Vietnam’s Level 2 Field Hospital supporting UN operations in South Sudan. Photo: Embassy of Australia in Hanoi