(VOVworld) – Vietnam and the US have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on unexploded ordnance clearance, the first such MoU since their recent joint statement to establish a comprehensive partnership. Signatories to the important document were Vietnam’s State Steering Committee for the National Action Program on overcoming the aftermath of bombs and mines left by the war and the US State Department.
At the signing ceremony on Monday in Hanoi, Bui Hong Linh, Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, said this MoU will help to foster bilateral ties. Linh said: “The MoU will create a long-term mechanism to promote humanitarian cooperation between Vietnam and the US in bomb and mine decontamination. Under the agreement, Vietnam and the US will increase exchanges of delegations and materials, joint training activities, facility upgrades, and financial aid, and encourage international involvement in this process in Vietnam. I hope that both countries will move forward on a detailed, long-term action plan for bomb and mine disposal.”
US Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear said: “Our conclusion of this MoU today is an important step in following through our leaders’ shared vision. As the US and Vietnam have built a closer relationship, they have started sharing interests and values. We want to further deepen our cooperation. Today signing this MoU creates a long-term bilateral framework for humanitarian mine action cooperation between the US and Vietnam.”
The US has actively supported Vietnam for years in removing bombs and mines left over from the war. Since 1993, the US has poured 65 million USD into addressing possible contamination caused by unexploded ordnance. So far this year, it has provided Vietnam with 4.5 million USD, to fund Vietnam’s centers for bomb and mine disposal, clear polluted soil, provide services for victims of explosions, and raise public awareness.