|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (left) and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel review the guard of honour yesterday in Belgium. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese and Belgian prime ministers yesterday expressed satisfaction with the progress made in bilateral co-operation and agreed to prioritise links in seaport, logistics, transport, green technology, hi-tech industry, aviation and outer space sectors.
Meeting in Brussels, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel also agreed on maintaining the Viet Nam – Belgium Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation, saying it needs to set orientations for post-2015 growth in bilateral relations.
Michel affirmed Belgium's support for the signing of a free trade agreement between European Union and Viet Nam that, together with the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement signed in 2012, will lay the groundwork for strengthening ties individually and collectively.
The two leaders also pledged to facilitate high-level visits and mutual support at multilateral forums and international organisations such as the United Nations, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and Francophone.
They said they would help universities and research institutes in both countries forge stronger relations, especially in the area of personnel training.
Michel affirmed Belgium's strong desire to work bilaterally and multilaterally on security issues in the Asia-Pacific region.
The two PMs stressed that peace, stability, security, safety, maritime and aviation freedom are crucial in the East Sea, agreeing also that disputes should be settled peacefully without the use of force or threat to use force 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.
After the talks, the prime ministers witnessed the signing of an agreement on a second small satellite that would help Viet Nam's natural resources and disaster management efforts, as also a memorandum of understanding on investing in an industrial zone in the northern city of Hai Phong.
PM Dung and President of the European Commission (EC) Manuel Barroso yesterday issued a statement on orientations needed to conclude negotiations on the European Union (EU) – Viet Nam free trade agreement (EVFTA).
In the statement released after their talks in Brussels, the two leaders reaffirm the importance of early completion of negotiations for the EVFTA, seen as a crucial tool for deepening the ties of "comprehensive partnership" between Viet Nam and EU.
They say EU and Viet Nam wish to make the EVFTA a modern, comprehensive and balanced agreement so as to help both sides deal with current and future economic challenges.
During their talks, Dung and Barroso also discussed other measures to promote co-operation between Viet Nam and the European Union (EU).
They agreed to increase exchange visits by delegations at all levels, foster trade relations and increase co-operation in healthcare, education, human resources development, environmental and climate change.
Dung thanked the EU for supporting Viet Nam's socio-economic development as well as its global integration process and hoped that the two sides would soon approve the Viet Nam-EU Partnership and Co-operation (PCA) agreement.
Barroso affirmed that EC and EU member countries would closely co-operate in the task of boosting ASEAN-EU relations and applauded Viet Nam's contribution to regional growth.
The two leaders also discussed regional and international issues of common concern. They stressed the need to ensure maritime and aviation security, safety and freedom in the East Sea.
After the talks, PM Dung and EC President Barroso witnessed the signing of an agreement under which the EC will assist Viet Nam with 400 million euros during the 2014-20 period.
At a meeting between PM Dung and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy yesterday, the two sides expressed happiness at the development of Viet Nam-EU ties in politics, trade and investment and development co-operation.
Dung said Viet Nam attached great importance to relations with EU and proposed that the European Council supports an early signing of the EVFTA. This would create fresh momentum for further strengthening of ties between the two sides, he said. — VNS