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Two cultures with fascinating history

Update: October, 11/2013 - 09:42

Architectural triumph: The Alhambra, a palace and fortress complex in Granada, Spain. — Photo courtesy of Spain Embassy

Spain will celebrate her National Day tomorrow. On this occasion, the country's ambassador to Viet Nam Alfonso Tena writes to Viet Nam News readers.

October 12 is the National Day of Spain. A date for celebration as we remember that we belong to a great nation, crossroads of civilisations with a rich culture and a long history of deeds that have had a decisive influence in the shaping of Europe and its relations with America and other parts of the world.

We still feel very proud of that history and culture and enjoy privileged relations with Europe, Latin America and the Mediterranean countries that enrich the life of the Spaniards in many different ways and allow Spain to participate proactively in numerous co-operation schemes. At the same time, the world today offers many opportunities to interact with regions that equally have an amazing culture and a fascinating history; more and more of my fellow citizens feel attracted and encouraged to travel to Asia, and Viet Nam is undoubtedly one of their favorite destinations.

It is to them, particularly the Spaniards living in Viet Nam, that I want to address in the first place through the conveyance of my warmest congratulations. I wish you have a very pleasant National Day.

Our country continues to experience a difficult economic situation. Reports about the predicaments of the Eurozone, Spain included, have been recurring over the last couple of years. One of Spain's greatest painters, Salvador Dali, used to say that it "is good that people speak about you even if they say good things…" Fortunately, we are now starting to hear some positive messages. Prestigious financial institutions point at the third quarter of this year as the beginning of economic recovery, a forecast shared by my government. We hope that the positive trends in the global economy, accompanied by the structural reforms put in place by the Spanish government, will take us back to the path of growth, job creation and macroeconomic balance.

The crisis has not undermined the role of Spain as a reliable partner committed to working on global challenges. Spain is fully committed to work for a more just, prosperous and liveable world and firmly believes in a multilateral approach to those challenges. We think that sustainable development is the best way to fight poverty, our primary goal. Our initiatives, promoting food security, the right to water and sanitation, combating desertification and climate change, as well as our strong advocacy to renewable energy sources have proven coherent with that goal. Moreover, we have consistently demonstrated that promoting human rights and gender equality is a cornerstone of our foreign policy. Those reasons and the above mentioned commitment to multilateralism suffice to explain our desire to be elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the period 2015-2016.

In our Strategic Partnership with Viet Nam we have tried to project that level of commitment. We have put in place cooperation projects aiming at poverty reduction, gender equality, agricultural and fisheries development, child nutrition, fair trade, relief to victims of human trafficking, use of renewable energies, etc.

We very much look forward to expanding that cooperation between our two countries in the years to come. Our engineering and construction companies, ranked among the best in the world, see an enormous potential for growth in this country. They are very much interested in Viet Nam, where they are willing to develop projects, share know-how and technology and help develop different industries and networks of paramount importance for any modern society.

Expanding bilateral cooperation is the goal of the Action Plan that Spain and Viet Nam designed back in 2009, when the two countries set in motion their Strategic Partnership. We have managed to develop a good level of political contacts and bilateral trade has grown spectacularly ever since. There are many things we can do together in other areas, such as tourism, education, cultural industries, design or the management of national and cultural heritage, to name just a few of them.

The Action Plan also reflects a convergence of points of view about our respective roles in the international community and opens the door to a better coordination in international affairs.

Together with the Vietnamese authorities and economic agents, we will work with dedication towards the attainment of those objectives. — VNS

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