UNITED NATIONS -- The Securily Council's approval of Vietnam's application lo join the United Nations is assured with the United States, its enemy during the bitter Indochina War, agreeing lo drop its veto.
At least 23 counlries, including the United Stales, have asked to speak on behalf of Vietnam at a Security Council meeting today, U.N. sources said Monday. The vote on Vietnam's membership was not expected until late afternoon.
An American spokesman said Ihe United Slales "will probably make a brief statement."
The United Slales has asked that Vietnam's membership bid be accepted without a formal ballot -- a move designed to spare itself the embarrassment of having to vote in favor of its former foe, the sources said.
More than 50,000 Americans were killed in the war, which started in 1961 with a handful of U.S. military advisers in Vietnam and mushroomed into a conflict that wreaked havoc on Indochina and tore a gaping hole in the social fabric of the United Slates.
The United Slates last November vetoed a U.N. membership applicalion by Vietnam -- unified after the fall of Soulh Vietnam in 1975 -- claiming Hanoi refused lo account for U.S. servicemen missing in aclion.
It withdrew its objection after Vietnam agreed lo give a fuller accounting of American MIAs during negolialions earlier this year in Paris.