Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (front, centre) at the 17th Francophonie Summit in Yerevan, Armenia (Photo: VNA)

Yerevan (VNA) – Members of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), including Vietnam, affirmed the importance of multilateral organisations in maintaining global peace and stability at the 17th Francophonie Summit, held in Yerevan capital of Armenia, on October 11 and 12.

Talking to the press about the summit’s outcomes, Ambassador Duong Chi Dung, head of Vietnam’s permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva and assistant to the Vietnamese Foreign Minister, said the event attracted nearly 40 presidents and prime ministers from the OIF member countries and territories, along with representatives of the UN and many international and regional organisations.

Themed “Living together in solidarity, sharing humanistic values, and respect for diversity: a source of peace and prosperity in La Francophonie”, the summit highlighted the significance of international multilateral organisations, including the OIF, in enhancing mutual understanding, respecting diversity, and promoting cooperation to maintain peace and stability and resolve issues around the world and in the Francophone space.

Dung noted that it adopted many important documents, including the Yerevan Declaration, the Francophonie’s call for living together, and the Francophone cooperation strategy for 2019-2022. They will not only help deal with challenges facing the Francophone community but also set up orientations for the French-speaking community’s activities in the coming time, particularly assisting the member states and governments to realise the Sustainable Development Goals, respond to climate change, boost economic growth, and increase the use of French at multilateral forums.

He added the summit admitted Ireland, Malta, Gambia and the US state of Louisiana as observers, raising the number of OIF members and observers to 88, thus further affirming the OIF’s role as the world’s second biggest international organisation, after the UN.

The summit elected Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo as Secretary-General of the OIF for the 2019-2022 term.

Dung highlighted active contributions by the high-ranking delegation of Vietnam, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, to the summit.

The official noted Deputy PM Minh delivered an important speech, stressing that the world and the Francophone community are facing a number of challenges that no countries can singlehandedly resolve, so multilateral mechanisms like the OIF hold critical importance.

He asked the OIF to step up substantive cooperation, seek measures to deal with the root causes of crises and instability such as inequality, hunger, poverty, and underdevelopment, continue to reinforce existing mechanisms for conflict prevention, and handle disputes on the basis of international law.

The Vietnamese delegation also mentioned the Asia-Pacific’s situation, emphasising that the region is an important part of the Francophone space, and it now also has to cope with many challenges caused by the strategic competition of power countries, racial conflicts, terrorism, cyber security, and climate change, Ambassador Dung said.

Deputy PM Minh affirmed that Vietnam has always actively participated in and responsibly contributed to common efforts for the sake of peace, security and development of the world and the Francophone community. 

Vietnam called on involved parties, and showed its readiness to join relevant sides to peacefully resolve East Sea disputes in conformity with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It also asked the OIF members to continue supporting Vietnam’s efforts in this issue.

The Vietnamese side actively joined in the building of and promoted the adoption of documents with content matching the country’s policies and interests.

Dung said the documents issued at the summit called on the Francophone community to pay more attention to the complicated situation in the East Sea, urging parties concerned to peacefully handle disputes on the basis of international law, exercise self-restraint, not use or threaten to use force, ensure the security and safety of navigation and aviation, fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and make efforts to achieve an effective and efficient Code of Conduct in the waters.

On the sidelines of the summit, Deputy PM Minh had bilateral meetings with heads of delegations of France, Canada, Armenia, Mali, Haiti, Andorra, Cameroon, Guinea, and Madagascar to strengthen Vietnam’s relations with the countries and call for their endorsement of its candidacy for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021.

At these meetings, the countries said they treasure ties with Vietnam and consider it a development model, especially for African nations. They hoped that Vietnam will continue acting as a bridge of the OIF in the Asia-Pacific and contribute to peace, stability and development in the Francophone community and the world. They also promised to consider supporting Vietnam’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council, Ambassador Dung added.-VNA