|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung receives with the former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in Ha Noi.—VNA/VNS Photo
HA NOI (VNS)— Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday hailed Viet Nam's valued relationship with France and declared that the two nations are making efforts to develop their ties to the strategic partnership level in 2013.
The PM made the comments at a meeting with the former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who is on an official working visit to the country.
Dung declared Viet Nam's support for French businesses investing in the country.
He also requested that France continues supporting Viet Nam in its efforts to finalise negotiations and sign a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.
The PM also expressed his hope that France would support Viet Nam's stance that all East Sea-related issues must be settled through peaceful measures, based on international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea.
De Villepin emphasised the fact that relations between Viet Nam and France exist across various fields including politics, education, science and technology and the economy.
He agreed that the potential for a strategic partnership agreement made this year particularly important and announced that many French businesses are looking for opportunities to invest in Viet Nam in the fields of traffic infrastructure, energy, water supply and drainage and education and training.
Additionally, de Villepin outlined France's high hopes for Dung's forthcoming visit to Paris this year to seal the strategic partnership.
France is currently the second biggest European investor in Viet Nam and it is the country's third biggest trade partner, with their two-way trade turnover reaching $3.2 billion last year.
De Villepin's visit is being made on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the two countries' diplomatic ties this year.
On the same day, de Villepin held meetings with Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Huy Hoang and Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang. — VNS