Vietnam assumes UN Security Council presidency

July 1st, 2008 - 11:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, July 1 (DPA) Vietnam took over the UN Security Council presidency Tuesday, a position that will for the first time thrust the communist regime into the role of top keeper of world peace and security. The monthly rotating post among the 15-nation council has placed some of the world’s poorest and smallest countries on par with more powerful nations. The council is dominated by permanent members: the US, Russia, China, France and Britain.

Vietnam had fought lengthy wars, first with China, which occupied the country for centuries, then with France and the US. But Vietnam’s top diplomats now sitting on the council are much less belligerent than their predecessors.

Ambassador Le Luong Minh will preside over the council in July, succeeding US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.

In the past, the position has humbled and pressured the small countries’ diplomats who have held the post. But since Vietnam joined the council in January for a two-year term, Le and his team has performed quietly, avoiding most international media scrutiny. That will likely change in the next four weeks with the more prominent position.

As usual, the council president was to spend the first few days of the month drawing up the programme of work before making it public. Le was consulting with other members on Tuesday.

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