Ireland is committed to assisting the implementation of Vietnam’s national action programme to overcome the consequences of post-war bombs and mines through activities to clear unexploded ordnance (UXO) and support disabled people, including war victims.

To this effect, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Irish Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello and President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Vu Xuan Hong in Hanoi on October 29 as part of the former’s visit to Vietnam from October 28-31.

Under the MoU, the two sides agreed to share non-governmental organisations (NGOs)’ experience in overcoming the consequences of bombs and mines and express desire to boost the solidarity and friendship between the two peoples.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Joe Costello said that as the Minister for Trade and Development, he has approved a new aid package worth 600,000 EUR for the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to conduct UXO clearance activities in the central provinces of Quang Tri and Quang Binh in the 2012-2015 period.

These activities will be then expanded to the neighbouring Quang Nam province, he added.

Also in the period, the Irish Aid will provide a maximum of two million EUR per year to increase NGOs’ participation in poverty reduction and policymaking as well as improve the rights and role of disabled people in Vietnam , the minister said.

Hong thanked the Irish Government and agencies for their assistance for Vietnam ’s humanitarian and development programmes, especially in overcoming the consequences of bombs and mines left by the war.

He affirmed that VUFO will continue its close coordination in order to create all favourable conditions for Irish projects to operate effectively in Vietnam and strengthen the solidarity and friendship between the two nations./.VNA