|Ancient theatre in Plovdiv. Throughout the year the city will be the centre-stage for the European arts. — Photo courtesy of the embassy|
by Ambassador Marinela Petkova
Yesterday, the Republic of Bulgaria celebrated 141 years of its liberation from the Ottoman Empire and subsequently the 140th anniversary of the adoption of its first democratic Constitution and the 140th anniversary of the establishment of the Bulgarian Diplomatic Service.
Nearly half of that time Bulgaria and Việt Nam have maintained healthy and vibrant diplomatic relations. Bulgaria was one of the first 10 countries to establish diplomatic ties with Việt Nam, ties that remain rooted in goodwill, mutual respect and trust.
Our almost 70 decades of rich history has been carefully cultivated. Nowadays, Bulgaria and Việt Nam sustain dialogue in all fields of co-operation. The exchange at the highest political level most recently peaked with the visits to Bulgaria of the Vice President of Việt Nam (2014), the visits to Việt Nam of the President (2013), the Vice President (2015) and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria (2014); and the reciprocal visit of the Prime Minister of Việt Nam to Bulgaria (2015).
Only in 2018 Bulgaria and Việt Nam exchanged a number of important visits: of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Việt Nam Phạm Bình Minh to Bulgaria in July; of the Minister of Economy of Bulgaria and an accompanying business delegation to Việt Nam in September; of the Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of Việt Nam Đào Ngọc Dũng to Bulgaria in November.
Our national assemblies collaborate closely through reciprocal groups of friendship and in April last year, Bulgaria was happy to host a parliamentary delegation from Việt Nam, led by the Vice Chairman of the National Assembly of Việt Nam Uông Chu Lưu.
On expert level, economic co-operation has been unfolding through biannual meetings of the Joint Economic Commission and ties between the local authorities strengthened by city-twinning agreements.
Bulgaria attaches great importance to developing relations with Việt Nam as an important partner in the dynamic region of Southeast Asia. With Việt Nam’s ever-growing international integration and its role as a reliable and responsible partner to the international community, both countries can take full account and advantage of the cooperation in the multilateral forums - within the frameworks of the United Nations, EU-ASEAN enhanced dialogue, the Asia-Europe Meeting and more. Việt Nam’s impressive trajectory of development and advancement nourishes the ambition of our countries for stronger bilateral relations.
In that regard, to sustain a strong partnership in the long run, Bulgaria and Việt Nam will need to pursue a determined agenda for further fostering trade relations, but also people-to-people contacts, cultural, educational and tourism exchange, as these are the alternative engines of growth in partnership and development.
One of the many characteristics Việt Nam and Bulgaria share is a rich and vibrant cultural heritage. One of the oldest countries in Europe, founded in 681 AD, Bulgaria has preserved its original culture, traditions and language. Contemporary Bulgaria offers a unique bundle of a modern setting with a touch of antiquity, embodied in the atmosphere of the Bulgarian cities.
For 2019 the European countries jointly awarded the title ‘European capital of Culture’ to the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv. Surrounded by two of Europe’s most magnificent mountain ranges - the Balkans and the Rhodope mountains, Plovdiv exists in peace and harmony with some of the most beautiful and picturesque Bulgarian natural sites. Throughout the year the city will be centre-stage for the European arts and an exciting programme will bring residents and quests more than 300 projects and events - music and dance concerts, theatre performances and art exhibitions.
Just as the above programme is realised under the slogan ‘Together’, such is the successful levitating between old and new, past and present, that brings Bulgaria and Việt Nam ever closer Together towards an outward-looking, advanced, multifaceted co-operation to the benefit of our both peoples. — VNS