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Vice President returns from successful European visits

(VNA) - Vice President Truong My Hoa has described her visits to Bulgaria and Slovakia as an affirmation of Viet Nam's consistent policy of continuing to consolidate and accelerate friendship and multi-dimensional cooperation with traditional friends.

"This is one of the priorities set by Viet Nam while exercising a foreign policy of openness, multilateralisation and diversification," she said in an interview with the Viet Nam News Agency (VNA) at the end of her visits to these European countries on Oct. 18.

This year, Viet Nam marked the 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties with both Bulgaria and Slovakia.

Hoa told the VNA that during the visits, Bulgarian and Slovak leaders affirmed that the traditional friendship and close cooperation with Viet Nam over the past 55 years serve as a solid foundation, and are viewed as having precious spiritual value which supports the maintenance and further development of bilateral relations.

She said the two countries' leaders spoke highly of the active role played by Bulgarian and Slovak-trained scientific workers in Viet Nam and contributions by the Vietnamese communities to these countries.

The leaders of the two countries regarded these people as valuable and potential human resource to help lift the Bulgaria-Viet Nam and Slovakia-Viet Nam relations to a new height, Hoa said.

During the visits, which were aimed at strengthening political ties, Hoa said she and the leaders of these European countries discussed orientations and measures to increase bilateral cooperation in economics, trade, education and training, culture, tourism and social affairs.

On this occasion, the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed a cooperation document with its Bulgarian partner.

Hoa informed that Vietnamese officials discussed with their Bulgarian and Slovak counterparts on the possibility of signing bilateral economic cooperation agreements with these countries to conform with the new situation - Slovakia has become a member of the European Union and Bulgaria has signed a treaty for EU's membership as of January 1, 2007.

During the visits, Bulgarian and Slovak leaders voiced their support for Viet Nam's WTO entry and its candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council for the 2008-09 term, Hoa said.

Vice President Hoa pointed out that commercial and economic ties between Viet Nam and Bulgaria have not yet matched their fine political ties, neither their potential nor their desires.

She said the Bulgarian leaders agreed with that observation during their talks and meetings, yet acknowledged the fruitful developments in the two countries' all-around cooperation in the recent past.

Geographical distance, difficulties in transportation and a lack of understanding between the two countries' businessmen are to be blamed for the situation, Hoa noted.

She said she and the Bulgarian leaders shared the view that the important achievements that the Vietnamese and Bulgarian people have attained in their renewal process, national modernisation, regional and global integration, external affairs and overseas economic activities, are crucial prerequisites for the Viet Nam-Bulgaria relationship in the 21st century.

High-level and ministerial-level discussions and meetings have resulted in specific measures and orientations to fully utilise the two countries' potential and strength, especially in trade and economics, the State leader said.

Regarding agreements reached at the 20th Inter-governmental Committee for Economic, Commercial, Scientific and Technological Cooperation that convened in Sofia last year, Hoa said Bulgarian leaders agreed that these agreements must be translated into deeds.

She said she was pleased with the organisation of the Viet Nam-Bulgaria Business Forum during her visit, describing it as "an encouraging event" which will help the two countries' businessmen inquire into each other's demands and the possibilities for cooperation in the coming time.

Assessing the cooperative ties between Viet Nam and Slovakia, Vice President Hoa said Viet Nam has enjoyed close friendship and time-honoured cooperation with Slovakia, like it has with Bulgaria.

"This is a firm foundation for the two countries to maintain and develop their ties in the new circumstance," Hoa stressed.

She noted that the significant accomplishments that Viet Nam and Slovakia have achieved in their reform and international integration, especially Slovakia's accession to the European Union, which is Viet Nam's leading partner, have created favourable conditions, as well as new opportunities, for the two countries to continue expanding their traditional ties in various areas, particularly in economics and trade.

The bilateral economic cooperation agreement, to be signed in the coming time, will create a new legal framework for the two countries' future cooperation to adapt to the changes in the world, Hoa noted.

In addition, Hoa said leaders of the two countries pledged to continue increasing cooperation in traditional domains, such as trade, education and training, science and technology.

Via Slovakia, which is now a EU member, Viet Nam can increase exports into the EU, Hoa reasoned.

She advised Vietnamese businessmen to come to seek cooperation opportunities with their Slovak partners in the areas which Slovakia is strong in, including energy, transport equipment, chemicals, health equipment, pharmacy, food processing and tourism./.

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