|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung meets with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Saturday. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
HA NOI (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met with Pope Francis and His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See during his visit to the Vatican on Saturday before ending his tour to Belgium, the European Union, Germany and Italy where he attended the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit.
Pope Francis regarded the Prime Minister's visit as a prime opportunity for both sides to strengthen their mutual understanding, thus enhancing the sound relations between Viet Nam and the Vatican.
He applauded Viet Nam's efforts to implement policies on freedom of belief and religion and congratulated the country on its election to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
He spoke highly of the activities run by the Viet Nam Catholic Church, such as annual conferences of the Viet Nam Bishop Council and major Catholic celebrations, and expressed his gratitude to the Vietnamese Government for facilitating the Vatican non-resident envoy's visit to the country.
Pope Francis confirmed that the Vatican was keen to further its fine relationship with Viet Nam and support the Vietnamese Catholic Church's active involvement in national socio-economic development.
He voiced his concerns over tensions in the East Sea and expressed his wish to contribute to the maintenance of peace, stability and security in the region and the world.
On his part, PM Nguyen Tan Dung stated that Viet Nam always treasured its ties with the Vatican. He reiterated his country's resolve to implement its consistent policy of respecting people's legitimate rights to belief and religious freedom and to encourage Vietnamese Catholics to contribute to national construction and development.
The Government leader's visit to Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Vatican and his participation in ASEM 10 are expected to deepen and develop the friendship and multi-faceted co-operation between Viet Nam and its partners in a practical and effective manner, thus contributing to peace, stability, co-operation and prosperity in the region and the world at large. — VNS