Preparations for NA elections get started

Preparations for the elections of the National Assembly, 11th legislature,
will be carried out nationwide upon a three-day national conference on the

Opening the conference in Hanoi on January  31, National Assembly (NA)
Chairman Nguyen Van An stressed on key factors to ensure the elections to be
carried out in a democratic, legal, safe and economical manner.

Chairman An laid stress on election information dissemination, saying that
the entire Party, people and armed forces should be provided with necessary
information to help them thoroughly understand the significance and
importance of the elections which will take place on May 19.

Voters should have better understanding of the NA and NA deputies so as to
select best representatives to the highest legislative body of Vietnam, Mr
An noted. 

Personnel preparation and consultations play an important role in ensuring
that the elected NA will effectively represent the people's great unity
block and aspiration. Nominated candidates to the NA must meet the set
requirements for an NA deputy, Chairman An told the conference.

He pointed out that meetings between candidates standing for elections and
local voters should be organised prior to the elections for the candidates
to present their action plans. Those meetings aim at helping voters better
understand candidates to make right choices. Election campaigning must be
carried out in an equal, democratic and legal way to ensure social order and

Chairman An said that the election results must be determined in a legal,
objective, precise and timely way to enable the Election Council to announce
the list of elected candidates throughout the country as regulated by laws.

The NA Chairman called on relevant agencies, mass organisations, provinces
and cities to stay vigilant against hostile forces' schemes and actions to
undermine the elections and to do away with activities abusing democracy to
foil the elections.

Earlier, the Politburo issued an instruction on January 25 on the leadership
of the NA elections 11th legislature.

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai also issued an instruction on January 30 on the
NA elections. (VNA)


Determination for drug-free ASEAN by 2015 affirmed

Southeast Asian legislators have expressed their resolve to intensify the
fight against drug menace toward an Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) free from drugs by 2015.

The resolve was expressed at the closing session of the first meeting of the
ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation (AIPO) Fact-Finding Committee to
Combat Drug Menace (AIFOCOM) in Hanoi on January 31.

Under the AIFOCOM action plan, AIPO member countries will strengthen the
exchange of information and experiences in preventing and combating the drug
menace. They also pledged to conduct research on and assessment of the
building and implementation of, national drug control policy in their
respective countries.

AIFOCOM Chairman Bui Ngoc Thanh, who is also a Vietnam's National Assembly
deputy, expressed his hope that regional law makers would warn their voters
of the drug menace and inform them of regional efforts to combat drug abuse.

He also took this occasion to call on international and non-governmental
organisations and activists in the fight against drug menace to pay
attention, support and establish special co-operation with AIFOCOM.

The meeting adopted its final report to be submitted to the 23rd AIPO
General Assembly. 

The participants called at Drug Detoxification Centre No 6 in Ha Tay's Ba Vi
district. The centre, established in 1997, is capable of providing treatment
to 500 drug addicts. It has applied methods to readjust drug addicts'
behavior to help them soon reintegrate into the community. (VNA)


War veterans meet in Hanoi

The Standing Committee of the Vietnam War Veterans' Association, in
co-ordination with the Hanoi War Veterans' Association, held a meeting in
Hanoi on January 31 to mark the Party's 72nd anniversary (February 3,
1930-February 3, 2002) and the Lunar New Year.

Lieutenant General Tran Van Quang, chairman of the Vietnam War Veterans'
Association, emphasised the significant meaning of the meeting and extended
greetings from General Vo Nguyen Giap, who is also the honorary chairman of
the association, to all members of the association nationwide.

Lieutenant General Nguyen Quoc Thuoc, vice chairman of the association, read
a report highlighting the achievements of the association in 2001, including
an increase of 57,508 members grossing 1,662,523. Many local associations
were set up in administration agencies, businesses and schools, focusing on
political and ideological training and knowledge improvement for members. In
2001 the local associations contributed a significant part to the success of
Party congresses at province and city level, especially the Ninth National
Party Congress and prepared for the associations' congresses at local and
central levels. 

The war veterans, this year, will take part in the implementation of the
Politburo's resolution on strengthening the leadership of the Party over the
activities of war veterans in the new revolutionary period and the
organisation of the third National War Veterans' Congress.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Truong Quang Duoc pointed out the record of war
veterans under the leadership of the Party together with the support of
authorities, sectors, organisations and people concerning the positive
changes in organisation work and activities, thus contributing to the
national socio-economic development, defence and society order. The Vietnam
War Veterans' Association has proved its capability as a reliable
socio-political organisation to authorities at different levels, said Mr
Duoc. He said he highly valued the role of the association as an absolutely
loyal revolutionary force of the Party and people.

Present at the event were Politburo member and head of the Central
Commission of Mass Mobilisation, Truong Quang Duoc; generals Van Tien Dung,
Chu Huy Man, Le Duc Anh, Nguyen Quyet and veteran army officials and
ministry and sector representatives and those war veterans participating in
the resistance for national liberation and defence and international


Vietnam-Iraq friendship to be further developed: PM

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai assured the visiting Iraqi Minister of
Agriculture, Abdulilah H Mohammed, on January  31, that special friendship
between Vietnam and Iraq will be further developed.

Prime Minister Khai noted with pleasure the Iraqi people's socio-economic
achievements and improved living conditions.

Used to face trade embargo, the Vietnamese people have sympathised with the
Iraqi people over the difficulties they are meeting and will do their utmost
to help the latter, the prime minister said. He also expressed the belief
that the Iraqi people will overcome all difficulties and challenges.

Prime Minister Khai informed the Iraqi Minister of Vietnam's socio-economic
development in 2001 and the country's farm produce to supply Iraq under the
oil-for-food programme.

"The two countries' co-operation will be broadened to other fields for
mutual benefit," emphasised Mr Khai.

The Iraqi minister briefed the host of the results of the working session
with his Vietnamese counterpart, Le Huy Ngo, on co-operative plans on wet
rice cultivation and sugar and soyabean production, and on expanded
co-operation in education and expertise exchange.

The Minister expressed the hope that Vietnam would continue supporting Iraq
and the belief that the special relations between the Governments and people
of the two countries would be unceasingly grown.

Iraqi Minister of Agriculture Abdulilah Hammeed Mohammed has been in Vietnam
for a five-day visit since January  28.

During his stay, the Iraqi Minister was received by Vice President Nguyen
Thi Binh and Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Cong Tan.

The Iraqi guests had talks with their Vietnamese counterparts from the
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, held seminars with the
Agriculture Science Institute, farm machinery manufacturing and supplying
companies and the corporation of agricultural engineering and irrigation.

At these fuctions, the two sides expressed the wish to establish a long-term
co-operation in agriculture between the two countries.

On the afternoon, Minister Mohammed and his Vietnamese counterpart, Le Huy
Ngo, signed a memorandum of understanding on co-operative programmes on
science and technology.

They recognised encouraging outcome of the joint programme on rice,
sugarcane and soya bean production and agreed to accelerate the programme.

The two sides were of the same view to extend the sugarcane and soya bean
co-operative programme for another stage, focusing on training, construction
of laboratories, supply of audio-visual equipment, and hybrid maize
development plan in Iraq. (VNA)


Vietnam expresses deep concern over Middle East escalated violence

"Vietnam is deeply concerned about the recent escalated violence in the
Middle East," the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Phan Thuy Thanh,
said in Hanoi on January 31.

She was answering Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People's Army) daily correspondent who
asked on Vietnam's position on the recent situation in the Middle East.

The spokesperson further said that only by ceasing dispute, building up
confidence, and resuming peace talks can a fair and sustainable solution for
the violence be achieved.

The President Yasser Arafat-led Palestinian National Authority, elected by
the Palestinians and internationally recognised, is the legitimate
representative of the Palestinian people, the spokeswoman reiterated. (VNA)

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