The fifth National Congress of the Vietnam War Veterans’ Association (VWVA) opened in Hanoi on December 18, drawing the participation of 510 delegates representing more than 2.6 million members nationwide.

The ceremony was attended by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung and Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc among others.

In his opening statement, Lieutenant General Tran Hanh, President of the VWVA in its fourth tenure, stressed that the priority task of this congress is to objectively and comprehensively review the operational achievements and shortcomings of the association, as well as the most practical lessons drawn during its last tenure.

The congress will discuss orientations, tasks, standards and solutions in the new tenure, consider amendments and supplements to the association’s Charter and elect a new executive board for the 2012-2017 term, he said.

Speaking at the event, Trong, who is also the secretary of the Central Military Commission, urged VWVA to continue implementing its most important political task of resolutely protecting the fruits of the revolution and actively participating in building and protecting the Party and State, socialism and national unity.

The association and its chapters at all levels should thoroughly grasp the thoughts of members and people, defend against hostile forces’ schemes and actions and reject false allegations, as well as actively fight corruption, waste and negative phenomena and social problems, he said.

Trong noted that one of the VWVA’s important tasks is to educate the younger generation in patriotism, a love of socialism and revolutionary heroism, considering it the veterans’ responsibility to young people.

“VWVA should develop as a pure and strong association in political thought and organisation, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of veterans,” he said.

Trong said he hoped the association will direct the active, persistent and effective implementation of the resolution of the Party Central Committee’s 4 th plenum, and participate in building a stronger Party closely connected to the people.

Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh said that the VWVA and the Defence Ministry are closely linked in their activities, especially in protecting Marxism-Leninism, the Ho Chi Minh ideology as well as the guidelines and viewpoints of the Party.

The association has effectively managed and used 17 trillion VND of loans and trillions of VND contributed by its members. It has generated jobs for 1 million labourers and built or repaired 30,000 houses for veterans.

More than 5,500 small- and medium-sized enterprises, 1,140 cooperatives, 4,900 cooperative teams and 35,000 farms are owned by veterans.

With its outstanding contributions to the revolutionary cause of the Party and nation, the VWVA was awarded the Ho Chi Minh Order.

On this occasion, the Lao State also honoured the association and its members with various orders.-VNA