President’s visits to Austria, Italy, Vatican successful: Foreign Minister

July 29, 2023 - 19:14
The visits were made at the invitation of President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen, President of Italy Sergio Mattarella and Pope Francis.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — President Võ Văn Thưởng official visit to Austria from July 23-25, State visit to Italy and visit to the Vatican from July 25-29 have been successful in all aspects, Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn told the press.

The visits were made at the invitation of President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen, President of Italy Sergio Mattarella and Pope Francis.

This is the first visit to Austria by a Vietnamese President over the past 15 years, and the first delegation exchange at the head-of-state level with Italy and the Vatican in seven years, according to the minister.

Taking place in the context of rapid, complicated developments of the regional and international situation, the visits vividly demonstrate the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, and diversification and multilateralisation of relations adopted at the 13th National Party Congress, as well as Việt Nam's consistent policy of treasuring the traditional friendship and multi-faceted cooperation with Austria, the strategic partnership with Italy, and the relations with the Vatican, he continued.

Sơn stressed that the visits contributed to creating new momentum for the bilateral ties with Austria and Italy in all fields, from politics-diplomacy to trade-investment, development cooperation, education-training, science-technology, national defence and security, and culture.

He described the visits as very important highlights in the context of Việt Nam and Austria turning a new page in their relationship with the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties last year, and Việt Nam and Italy celebrating the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of their strategic partnership this year.

Regarding specific outcomes of the visits, the minister said the President and his entourage engaged in about 50 activities in various fields, which had been covered widely by both local and international media.

Austrian and Italian leaders regarded Việt Nam as a leading important partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and noted their wish that Việt Nam would work as a bridge between the European Union (EU) and the ten-member grouping.

With Austria, Việt Nam affirmed a resolve to constantly cultivate and promote the traditional friendship and multi-faceted cooperation in general, and the high political trust between high-ranking leaders of the two countries in particular.

The two sides agreed on measures to continue implementing bilateral agreements, especially those on innovation, energy transition and culture, and to coordinate in materialising the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

The Austrian side said it would soon ratify the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), and urge the EU to soon remove the “yellow” card warning imposed on Vietnamese seafood.

Austria also pledged to continue its close coordination with Việt Nam and mutual support at regional and international forums, promote the image of land and people of the two countries, and enhance tourism cooperation, people-to-people exchange and mutual understanding.

Meanwhile, Italian leaders agreed to increase high-ranking delegation exchanges via Party, State, Government and National Assembly channels, the FM said, stressing that the two sides issued a joint statement on strengthening the bilateral strategic partnership, and set forth major orientations and specific measures to advance their relations in a more intensive and effective fashion, particularly in politics, economy-trade, national defence and security, education-training, science-technology, culture, tourism and people-to-people exchange.

The two sides concurred to work together at regional and international forums and in addressing global issues such as climate change, energy security and food, especially in the context of both nations joining the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP).

Notably, Sơn said, the Italian Parliament ratified the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) at the same time as President Thưởng's visit, which is expected to help boost cooperation in such potential areas as digital economy, high-tech, green development and smart agriculture.

In the Vatican, it was noteworthy that the two sides concluded the “Agreement on the Status of the Resident Papal Representative and the Office of the Resident Papal Representative in Việt Nam”, marking a significant development step in their relations, the official said.

"This is a result of active discussion and exchange based on mutual respect and understanding and cooperation," Minister Sơn remarked.

Both Pope Francis and Cardinal Pietro Parolin expressed their impressions of the positive, diverse development of the belief and religious life in Việt Nam, including Catholicism, and shared the view that the Việt Nam Catholic Church should better fulfil the vocation of “accompanying the nation” and to be “good Catholics and good citizens,” and that Catholic dignitaries and followers in the country should make more contributions to the development of the nation and the church.

On this occasion, President Thưởng also met with representatives of the Vietnamese communities in Austria, Italy and Europe, where he encouraged the community to promote the spirit of unity, preserve cultural identity, actively integrate and act as a bridge of friendship between Việt Nam and other countries, Sơn said.

With these important results achieved above, the Vietnamese foreign minister said the visits achieved very good results, creating important momentum to promote the sustainable, profound, effective bilateral cooperation between Việt Nam and these European partners. — VNS