• Short Summary

    The Security Council unanimously recommended Vietnam for membership of the United Nations on Wednesday (20 July) without a vote.

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    The Security Council unanimously recommended Vietnam for membership of the United Nations on Wednesday (20 July) without a vote. This was Vietnam's sixth application. Its earlier attempts to join the world body had been thwarted by the United States, which exercised its veto.

    In a written statement, Dr. Waldheim, who leaves New York on Saturday (23 July) for an official visit to China, said the admission of Vietnam would bring the United Nations very close to universality of membership.

    SYNOPSIS: Security Council President Chen Chu, who is also China's ambassador to the U.N., has called for a consensus vote -- and couldn't help showing his satisfaction when he realised that there were no dissenters. If the General Assembly accepts the Security Council recommendation, Vietnam will take its place at the United Nations for the session beginning in September.

    After the announcement, the President invited Vietnam's ambassador Dinh Ba Thi and his delegation to take their seats near the council table. United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim also attended the meeting. The United States had, until now, vetoed Vietnam's membership in an attempt to force Hanoi to account for American servicemen still missing from the Vietnam war. Under President Jimmy Carter's administration, the United States agreed to drop its veto against Vietnam's application, in return for information about the missing servicemen.

    Ambassador Thi was warmly applauded by delegates as he rose to speak. He lost no time in calling on the United States to contribute to the reconstruction of his war-ravaged country and said: "It is a matter of honour, conscience and duty, which the U.S. Government cannot shirk under any pretext." Mr. Thi said he hoped it would be the first step towards healing the wounds of war with the United States, adding that public opinion throughout the world demanded that President Carter's government lived up to its commitment in Article 21 of the Paris accord. This was a reference to the question of repatriations. Ambassador Thi also thanked China for the "precious support" it gave Vietnam during the war and in the rebuilding carried out afterwards.

    United States representative Don McHenry sat impassively during Mr. Thi's address and did not join in the burst of applause from the assembled delegates as Mr. Thi returned to his place near the council table. But later the two shook hands.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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