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Looking back on a shared vision

Update: April, 16/2013 - 10:30
Hit the beach: A picturesque view of the beachside in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. — Photo Dana Friedlander

(VNS) On the occasion of Israel's National Day, April 16, the Viet Nam News introduces comments by Israeli Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar

This year, we mark our 20th year of diplomatic relations with Viet Nam and 65th anniversary of Independence of the State of Israel.

Our diplomatic relations with Viet Nam may be relatively young, but our friendship started many years ago with the meeting between Viet Nam's President Ho Chi Minh and Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion that took place in Paris in 1946.

Two leaders with a shared vision for their own country – independence.

This friendship developed into the diplomatic relations we enjoy today and was highlighted by the historical visit of Israeli President Shimon Peres to Viet Nam in November 2011, a visit aimed at strengthening and expanding political and economic strategic ties between our two countries.

I am pleased to say that the relations are now at a high point. Year by year, our trade volume almost doubles; the number of visitors from Israel is increasing and the co-operation between our countries is expanding very quickly. Israelis are interested in exploring investment opportunities in different fields, have great respect for Viet Nam and its people, a dynamic nation in its development.

In the agrotech sector, we are witnessing the growing interests on the part of provinces, to adopt Israeli technology, with an emphasis on water technology, rearing dairy cattle and post harvesting. The most visible of which is TH Milk in Nghe An and the integration of Israeli drip irrigation systems in many provinces. The Government of Israel together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have established a demonstration farm in HCM City, aimed to serve as a model of training in the field of dairy cattle.

Technology innovation has been the cornerstone of the success of the Israeli high-tech industry over the last decades. Israel – a country of about eight million people, only 65 years old, difficult geo-political conditions and with no natural resources – produces more start-up companies than most countries around the globe. This is another area of growing co-operation between our countries. I believe that technology is the key to our future co-operation.

Over the years, Israel and Viet Nam signed numerous agreements to promote co-operation in different fields, among them agriculture, culture, economic and maritime trade and many others. We hope to promote a Free Trade Agreement with Viet Nam, as well as Investment Protection Agreement that will enable even deeper cooperation between both countries' business sectors. We are in the process of establishing the Governmental Joint Committee on Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation. This will create a better mechanism to promote further our cooperation. All together, these agreements form a stronger foundation for our mutual trade and business exchange.

I can also note with satisfaction the growing exchange of cultural activities. Since my arrival in August 2012 I have promoted cultural events as I believe it's an excellent tool for Vietnamese to better understand Israel, our history and heritage. Through music, food and theatre we have shared our culture with Viet Nam.

Capacity building and transfer of know-how is essential for the development of the agriculture sector in Viet Nam. As such, since the establishment of our relations, Israel has hosted hundreds of trainees for short term training and currently more than 550 Vietnamese are in Israel to attend an 11 month internship programme in agriculture. This number will increase up to 750 in the coming year.

As we celebrate 20 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Viet Nam, I am confident that our co-operation and friendship will continue to evolve for the mutual benefit of both our nations for generations to come. — VNS


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