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Vietnam’s preparation for AIPA 41 wins countries’ trust: AIPA Secretary-General

The Vietnamese National Assembly (NA)’s thorough and professional preparation for the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 41) has left good impression on and won the trust of international and regional friends, said AIPA Secretary-General Nguyen Tuong Van.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency ahead of the event, to be held virtually from September 8 to 10, Van held that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese NA took the initiative in changing the form of the event from offline to online, which she said has reflected its flexibility, sense of responsibility and resolve to fulfill its role as AIPA Chairmanship.

This is the third time the parliament of Vietnam has served as AIPA Chair and hosted an AIPA General Assembly, but the first time an event of this kind takes place in the form of a teleconference.

The theme of AIPA 41, “Parliamentary Diplomacy for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community”, matches the theme of Vietnam’s 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship, which is “Cohesive and Responsive”, aiming to create high consensus among member countries and inherit the outcomes of the 36th ASEAN Summit in June, especially the initiatives suggested by Vietnam and supported by other nations, according to Secretary-General Van.

She went on to say that upholding its chairmanship, Vietnam has suggested the establishment of the mechanism of young parliamentarians’ meetings to promote the youth’s role, while boosting links between AIPA activities and those of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in association with the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The country has also proposed themes for meetings of women parliamentarians and the AIPA committees on political matters, economic matters and social matters and received other members’ support, she added.

There are two highly important principles in the ASEAN Charter and AIPA regulations, “consensus” and “non-intervention in one another’s internal affairs”, which have helped maintain the bloc’s solidarity and unity. However, Van added, ASEAN and AIPA members haven’t been always shared common voices on certain regional issues in recent years.

During Vietnam’s AIPA Chairmanship, politics – security remains one of the key areas, aside from sensitive issues among ASEAN countries as well as between the bloc and partners. Therefore, it requires the host country’s sharpness, particularly in terms of negotiation skills, so as to seek similarities among partners who sometimes have very different interests and concerns, she noted.

As host of AIPA 41, the Vietnamese NA has coordinated with the Foreign Ministry to negotiate with other member parliaments to deal with some issues in the Political Affairs Committee’s agenda, Van said.

She emphasised that Vietnam concurrently serving as ASEAN Chair, AIPA 41 Chair and non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2020 holds great significance, creating conditions for the country to continue affirming its growing position and role in the region and the world.

The COVID-19 and the new and complex developments in the region will pose challenges and pressure, requiring high sense of responsibility from host Vietnam. Therefore, the Secretary-General said, Vietnam’s flexibility, proactiveness and sense of responsibility during the preparation for AIPA 41 as seen recently have been highly valued by other countries.

According to her, the practical and effective contributions by the Vietnamese NA during the AIPA Chairmanship Year in this special context are critical to the reinforcement of the country’s friendship and multifaceted cooperation with other ASEAN members, which in turn will provide the foundation for it to push ahead with and assert its stature during international integration./.