by H.E. Ambassador Le Luong Minh,
Permanent Representative of Viet Nam
at the Open Debate of the Security Council on the Small Arms
New York, 30 April 2008
I thank you for convening this open debate of the Council. I would also like to thank the Director and Deputy High Representative on Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Hannelore Hoppe, for her introduction of the report of the Secretary-General on the Small Arms contained in document S/2008/258.
Convinced that general and complete disarmament constitutes a solid guarantee for world peace and security, that the illicit trade in small arms can strain relations between states, fuel and add violence to disturbances, especially transnational crimes and civil wars and cause numerous sufferings to human beings, Viet Nam realizes the need for the international community to strengthen cooperation against the illicit trade and proliferation of small arms and light weapons. I wish to reaffirm Viet Nam’s support for the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. Recent reviews show that remarkable efforts have been made by countries in different parts of the world resulting in the enhanced awareness of the need for effective control of such illicit activities and the birth of mechanisms supporting implementation of this Program of Action. In light of the fact that much remains to be done in the context of the many prolonged conflicts and the growing threats of transnational crimes and terrorism, the United Nations must be supported to continue to play its central role in promoting and sustaining international cooperation in this connection. We share the observation of the Secretary General that within the United Nations, coordination on the issue of small arms could benefit from further improvement and look forward to studying specific proposals towards this end, including those aimed at promoting exchanges between the Security Council and the General Assembly on the issue. Commending the Secretary General for the comprehensiveness of his report, we are of the view that the recommendations contained therein relating to a wide range of activities of the United Nations, the Security Council and of States deserve and require careful consideration. While reaffirming our view that the establishment, deployment, extension of peace-keeping missions and the expansion of their mandates must be with the consent of all parties concerned and respect for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of States and must be considered on the case-by-case basis, Viet Nam supports the role of the Security Council in the inclusion of United Nations arms embargoes monitoring functions in the mandate of United Nations peacekeeping missions as outlined in Recommendation 5. However, we consider it necessary to further study the feasibility of the development of quantitative indicators for the area of small arms with a view to being used as a base against which to set measurable goals and the setting up of the deadline of 2015 for this work as mentioned in Recommendation 2. Discussion within the framework of the General Assembly and the Security Council in the past years shows that there are still different views among Member States and an early consensus is unlikely.
We concur with the view expressed by the Secretary-General that Member States remain central providers of security and this is their sovereign right and responsibility. Production, importation and retention of small arms and light weapons in particular and conventional weapons in general for the purpose of national defense and security remain the legitimate right of every sovereign state recognized by international conventions. International cooperation in fighting the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and preventing them from falling into the hands of organized criminals and terrorists is necessary, but must be in accordance with the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations and must not affect that legitimate right of States.
Viet Nam is fully committed to implementing the Program of Action on Preventing, Combating and Eradicating the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. Since the submission of its report on the implementation of the Program of Action in 2006, Viet Nam has been taking various steps, at national, regional and international levels to effectively implement the Program. Up to now, no incident of illegal trade of small arms and light weapons from or into Viet Nam has been discovered; the number of criminal cases where small arms and light weapons are used has been minimized; the safety of the people is ensured; small arms and light weapons manufactured domestically are closely managed and properly marked in accordance with the Government’s regulations.
Viet Nam pledges to continue to work with all Member States to promote international cooperation in combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and implementation of the Program of Action.
I thank you, Mr. President!