Australia will help train Vietnamese troops to take part in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The decision for Diggers to share their abundant experience on such operations was announced yesterday by defence minister Stephen Smith after talks in Canberra with his Vietnamese counterpart, General Phung Quang Thanh.
“Australia will provide training to Vietnam People’s Army troops preparing to deploy on United Nations peacekeeping missions in the future,” Mr Smith said.
Vietnam is preparing to deploy peacekeepers for the first time, possibly in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The instruction to be provided by the Australian Defence Force will be carried out in both Vietnam and Australia and will focus mainly on improving the English language skills of Vietnamese officers.
Medical and engineering personnel will be coached on what to expect on these missions.
Mr Smith said the move reflected the growing closeness of the relationship between Australia and Vietnam and the high regard the ADF was held in for its peacekeeping and stabilisation skills.
He said Australia would also offer more than 80 places in ADF training establishments for Vietnamese personnel to take part in military and English language training this year and next year.
It’s not widely known that the ADF has already put more than 17,000 Vietnamese Army officers through English language courses in recent years.
Yesterday the two ministers laid a wreath at the Australian War Memorial and called on Governor-General Quentin Bryce.
Mr Smith said he and Mr Thanh agreed to take further practical steps to develop the defence relationship between the two nations with regular talks by officials on regional issues and opportunities for bilateral cooperation.
That is likely to include visits to each other ports by naval vessels.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam.
In Vietnam in October 2010, Mr Smith and Mr Thanh signed a memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation.Source: The Australian – “Australian Defence Force to train Vietnamese troops for United Nations peacekeeping role”
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