Vietnam has reasonable demand for defense: deputy minister

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Vietnam has yet to join international conventions banning anti-personnel mines because it has a legitimate need to maintain its defense, Dan Tri quoted the deputy foreign minister as saying.

Le Luong Minh made the statement at a conference in Hanoi Monday, when some international organizations and countries expressed hopes that Vietnam will sign the 1997 Ottawa Treaty, also known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the newswire reported.

However, Minh told the conference on overcoming the aftermath of bombs and mines that Vietnam will not export anti-personnel mines to support efforts to restrict the weapons from being used without control.

He also said Vietnam has not joined the 2008 Oslo Treaty or the Convention on Cluster Munitions because it is a great challenge for Vietnam to clear cluster bombed-areas within between 10 and 15 years, as required by the treaty.

The treaty places the responsibility of resolving the aftermath of bomb use on the affected countries, without giving specific frameworks on international cooperation and assistance, according to Minh.

"To Vietnam, the countries which produced, used and exported cluster bombs have to take the main responsibilities for this matter," he said.

Nevertheless, the official stressed that as a country in favor of peace, Vietnam supports every efforts to disarm and to prevent the popularization of weapons of massive destruction.

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So far, Vietnam has registered and strictly complied with more than 40 international and bilateral articles related to disarmament and controlling weapons, he added.

Meanwhile at the conference, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung pledged that Vietnam will gather its resources and join with international agencies to address the fallout from bombs and mines dropped on the country in prior wars.

Surveys showed that at least 42,130 people have been killed and more than 62,160 have been injured by explosive items left after wars. Around 1,530 people are killed and some 2,270 are injured on average every year.

Bomb-polluted lands account for more than 20 percent of Vietnam's total land area, causing difficulties in production and living, as well as affecting the country's economic and social development, according the conference.

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