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Vietnamese President chairs UNSC's high-level open debate

In his capacity as President of the United Nations Security Council in April 2021, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on April 19 chaired a High-level Open Debate on "Cooperation between the UN and regional organisations in enhancing confidence-building and dialogue in conflict prevention and resolution", which was held in both online and in-person formats.

The debate was attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and senior leaders of 15 UNSC member states and five regional organisations.

This is the first time a senior Vietnamese leader has presided over an important activity of the UNSC, sending the highest-level message of orientations, visions and aspirations for development, foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and friendship of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam; and strongly affirming the country’s voice, position, commitment and responsible contributions to mutilateralism, the UN and common efforts for peace and development in the world.

Speaking at the debate, the UN Secretary-General and leaders of UNSC member states highly evaluated Vietnam’s initiative to organise this important event, affirmed their support for enhancing cooperation between the UN and regional organisations as well as among regional organisations to prevent and settle conflicts, especially through confidence-building measures and dialogues.

In his speech, President Phuc emphasised the importance of trust, confidence and dialogue in international relations and highly appreciated the cooperation between regional organisations and the UN in conflict prevention and resolution.

The President highlighted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s  comprehensive and important achievements in building a cohesive and responsive ASEAN Community and promoting cooperation and dialogue with the UN and relevant partners, as well as its efforts to promote dialogue and build trust in settling regional matters, including the East Sea and Myanmar issues.

On this basis, President Phuc put forward three proposals. First, the interactions and complementarities between the UN and regional organisations are inherent. They offer a “two-way linkage” to share knowledge and coordinate joint endeavours. The UN should take the lead in increasing cooperation activities and exchanges of experience and best practices in confidence-building and dialogue to  prevent conflicts. On the other hand, regional organisations, with their unique strengths in practical experience, resources and diverse demands, should bolster cooperation with the UN, engage in dialogues and share experience at various forums to enhance capacity in preventing and resolving conflicts.

Second, the UN and regional organisations should further promote the role of multilateralism and uphold the UN Charter and international law, for this is the most concrete and solid foundation to build trust and promote dialogues.

Third, it is necessary to continue enhancing cooperation between the UNSC and regional organisations through dialogue and co-frameworks, and early warning mechanisms for volatilities.

The UNSC needs to continue acknowledging and respecting the perspectives, role and contributions of regional organisations. It is essential to mainstream conflict prevention and resolution strategies via dialogue and confidence-building in UN Missions, and create favorable conditions for regional organisations to uphold their central role.

In response, regional organisations should further strengthen their proactive and leading role in preventing and resolving conflicts in accordance with international law and the UN Charter. This can only be achieved when each and every member state has strategic trust in each other and share a common political resolve, he said.

The President also affirmed that Vietnam will spare no effort to strengthen the cooperation between the UN and regional organisations, including ASEAN, and elevate such ties, for peace, security and development around the world.

Also in the debate, President Phuc chaired the approval of the UNSC President’s Statement proposed by Vietnam with the aim of affirming the connection between the UN/UNSC and regional organisations in conflict prevention and resolution with trust-building and dialogue being essential factors.

The statement called on regional organisations to uphold their support roles and put forward recommendations for conflict prevention and resolution to member states in line with the UN Charter and relevant agreements. It also proposed the UN Secretary-General suggest solutions to promote trust-building measures and dialogue in the coming time./.