|Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (Right) and Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Didier Burkhalter, held a joint press conference yesterday in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Thong Nhat
HA NOI (VNS) — Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh thanked the Swiss Government for its ODA provision to Viet Nam while holding talks with Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Didier Burkhalter in Ha Noi yesterday.
The aid had been useful for Viet Nam's poverty alleviation, human resources training and urban and rural development initiatives, Minh stated.
Both expressed their delight at the positive developments in bilateral friendship and co-operation, particularly in politics and diplomacy, trade, investment and education and training.
The Swiss foreign affairs chief confirmed that his government wished to boost effective collaboration with Viet Nam – an active and important member of ASEAN, reflected through the opening of its Consulate General in HCM City.
Both agreed to intensify delegation exchan-ges at all levels, and to continue implementing political dialogue mechanisms and co-ordinate to organise celebrations of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2016.
They pledged to create favourable conditions for the two countries' businesses and investors to foster connections in finance, banking, insurance, high technology, agriculture and tourism, while speeding up work on a protocol amending the bilateral air transport agreement.
Free trade deal
|Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai (Right) receives Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Didier Burkhalter in Ha Noi yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo An Dang
The ministers also reached consensus on boosting negotiations on a free trade agreement between Viet Nam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in order to create a framework to expand bilateral trade and investment co-operation. They committed to maintaining close co-ordination and support at multilateral mechanisms like the United Nations, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Viet Nam welcomed Switzerland's efforts to strengthen its ties with ASEAN and hoped the two sides would implement co-operation activities to support the establishment of a partnership between Switzerland and the association, the host stated. Regarding the East Sea, both shared concerns over recent developments in the sea, stressing the need to ensure peace and stability while maintaining maritime and aviation security, safety and freedom in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea. They met with the press after their talks.
Also yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said the visit of the Swiss foreign affairs chief to Viet Nam would help lift bilateral relations to a new height.
During a separate reception for Burkhalter in Ha Noi, the Deputy PM expressed his delight at recent developments in the friendship and co-operation between the two countries across politic and diplomacy, trade and investment and education and training.
He expressed his hope that Switzerland would work with Viet Nam to carry out official development assistance and foreign direct investment projects, while calling for support to push forwards the negotiations for the free trade deal between Viet Nam and the European Free Trade Association. He also spoke highly of Switzerland 's decision to open its Consulate General in HCM City .
For his part, the Swiss foreign affairs head said his country treasured its multi-faceted co-operation with Viet Nam. Switzerland would also assist with Viet Nam's integration into the international market, including the signing of free trade agreements, he added.
At the meeting, the two sides discussed issues of mutual concern including the East Sea, which is an important trade route.
The Swiss official then travelled to HCM City to attend the inaugural ceremony of the Swiss Consulate General there. — VNS