|President Truong Tan Sang and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella review the guards of honour during the welcoming ceremony yesterday in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Duc
HA NOI (VNS)— President Truong Tan Sang and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella agreed on a number of measures enhancing the countries' co-operation during talks in Ha Noi yesterday.
At the talks following the official welcome ceremony, President Sang said he regards the Italian leader's first-ever State visit to Viet Nam as an outstanding advance in bilateral relations, particularly in their strategic partnership.
He informed his guest about Viet Nam's recent situation, including the GDP growth rate of 6.5 percent and the acceleration of economic restructuring towards rapid, sustainable development.
Viet Nam's policies will strongly implement the multilateralisation and diversification of international relations, make efforts to build a strong ASEAN Community, and deepen its ties with prioritised and traditional partners, including Italy.
Italy's intensification of its relations with Viet Nam is of significance, as Viet Nam is speeding up integrating into international economic connectivity, and promoting important bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTA), including its FTA with the EU (VEFTA).
Both presidents expressed their delight at the large number of co-operation mechanisms, such as the strategic dialogue, the defence policy dialogue and the joint committee on economic co-operation. Meanwhile, regular delegation exchanges at all levels have expanded the scope of co-operation.
They said they highly valued their countries' co-ordination at multilateral forums, helping improve their international position, especially in solving global challenges like climate change, food security and maritime security.
President Truong Tan Sang thanked Italy for supporting Viet Nam's election to the UN Economic and Social Council for the 2016 to 2018 term and for pledging to back the latter's candidacy for the post of non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020 to 2021 term.
Measures to strengthen the countries' co-operative relations that the leaders concurred in include promoting all forms of co-operation at the Governmental and local levels, effectively carrying out the action plan for 2015 and 2016, and bringing into play the role of dialogue mechanisms and the Joint Committee.
President Sergio Mattarella agreed on his host's suggestion to urge the Italian Parliament to expeditiously approve the Viet Nam – EU Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Co-operation, which was inked in 2012.
He said Italy completely supports Viet Nam's official signing of the VEFTA and the EU's recognition of the country's market economy status, adding that the VEFTA would energise Viet Nam's relations with the EU as well as with Italy.
The Vietnamese leader stressed that Viet Nam also backed Italy's stronger ties with the Asia-Pacific region and the ASEAN.
Touching upon regional matters, the Presidents exchanged views on increasing reef reclamation activities that have threatened peace, stability, security, and safety of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, home to a big international shipping route between Europe and East Asia.
President Sang asked Italy to raise its voice in the G7 group and the EU, advocating the peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law on the Sea, the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and endeavours to finalize soon a Code of Conduct (COC) in the waters.
President Sergio Mattarella said he supported Viet Nam's stance of solving disputes through peaceful measures, respecting international law, maintaining navigation and aviation freedom, and ensuring regional safety and security.
He shared his host's view that the two countries held much potential for economic co-operation, noting that Italy listed Viet Nam among the 10 emerging markets it prioritises for developing trade and investment.
Many Italian enterprises were planning long-term operations and carrying out projects in Viet Nam. The Southeast Asian nation should provide more favourable conditions for Italian companies' activities, he added.
He said the countries should encourage their businesses to form partnerships, particularly in spheres they have strength in such as manufacturing engineering, apparel, footwear, woodworking, support industries, construction material, energy, agriculture and food processing, and oil and gas exploration and exploitation.
The Italian President said his country was willing to co-operate with and transfer technology to Viet Nam.
Additionally, the two sides discussed orientations for co-operation in culture – tourism, education – training, and science – technology, bolstering connections between their nations' universities, and creating favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in Italy.
Following the talks, the two Presidents witnessed the signing of an action plan on realising the Viet Nam – Italy strategic partnership by 2016, and an agreement on co-operation and mutual administrative assistance in customs.
PM delighted at signings
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has expressed his delight at the signing of several co-operation documents between Viet Nam and Italy.
Meeting Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Ha Noi yesterday, the PM welcomed the first visit to Viet Nam by an Italian President and stated that Viet Nam highly valued Italy's role in the region and the world.
He expressed his wish to strengthen bilateral links across economics, trade, investment, science-technology, education-training, culture, tourism, national defence-security toward two-way trade of US$5 billion by 2016 as set by the PMs of the two countries.
Welcoming Mattarella's presence at the Viet Nam – Italy business forum and a food fair to be held in Ho Chi Minh City, the host said Viet Nam hoped for Italian investment in oil and gas, energy, infrastructure, garment, footwear, wood processing and food industry.
On the occasion, he also urged the President and Prime Minister of Italy to push for the Italian parliament's approval of the EU-Viet Nam Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation (PCA), and support the early signing of the Viet Nam – European Union free trade agreement and recognition of Viet Nam as a market economy.
Mattarella emphasised that Italy considered Viet Nam a partner of top significance in the region.
He expressed his confidence in the prospects of bilateral economic, trade and investment ties, given the great potential of both countries.
He also confirmed the Italian parliament's support to the PCA adoption and prompt recognition of Viet Nam as a market economy.
The Italian President hailed Viet Nam's stall at the EXPO 2015 in Milan, saying that it was among the most beautiful and most visited stalls at the event.
NA Chairman meeting
National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung had a meeting with visiting Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Ha Noi on the same day.
Welcoming the first-ever visit by an Italian President since the countries' diplomatic relationship was established in 1973, the host said the visit was of significance amid flourishing bilateral ties and strategic partnership, and it would open up a new chapter of stronger multifaceted co-operation between Viet Nam and Italy.
He said he hoped the Italian President, Parliament and Government would continue their strong support for enhanced connections with Viet Nam.
The top legislator affirmed the Vietnamese parliament would provide the best possible conditions for the two sides' all-round co-operation from economic, trade, culture, arts to people-to-people exchange.
On this occasion, Chairman Hung also expressed thanks for the Italian parliamentary delegation's contributions to the success of the 132nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union held in Ha Noi in the previous year.
He asked his guest to convey the invitation to visit Viet Nam to the Presidents of Italy's Senate and Chamber of Deputies.
At the meeting, the Italian leader applauded the countries' recent co-operation achievements which he said greatly contributed to the two peoples' solidarity and friendship.
He suggested both sides solidify links in economics, trade along with culture, arts and tertiary education which his country has strength in.
Sergio Mattarella also spoke highly of Viet Nam's 2013 Constitution, which he said contained many new points with special focus on protecting human rights, citizen rights, the right to the freedom of belief and religion, and consolidating the great national unity bloc.
Party leader's reception
On the same day, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong hosted a reception for visiting President Sergio Mattarella in Ha Noi.
Welcoming President Mattarella, the Party leader said that the visit marked a new development of the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Trong thanked the Italian people for their support for Viet Nam during the struggle for independence as the country's development, and said Viet Nam always treasured traditional ties with Italy.
He expressed his wish to strengthen ties between the Communist Party of Viet Nam and Italian political parties to make a solid foundation for Viet Nam-Italy co-operation in all fields.
He also spoke highly of Italy's effort to address the impacts of the global economic crisis and common issues Europe is facing.
For his part, the Italian President said he wanted to expand co-operation with Viet Nam in all fields, contributing to closer ties between ASEAN and the European Union. — VNS