National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân (r) receives Speaker of the Parliament of Iran Ali Ardeshir Larijani in Hà Nội yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức
HÀ NỘI — National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân has expressed her belief that the ongoing visit by Speaker of the Parliament of Iran Ali Ardeshir Larijani will contribute to consolidating the traditional friendship and co-operation between the two nations.
During talks with the Iranian parliament leader following a welcome ceremony in Hà Nội on April 16, Ngân lauded the effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, which she said has helped facilitate the socio-economic development of Iran.
She called for close co-ordination between the two countries to lift two-way trade to US$2 billion, with attention given to specific fields. The Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) leader also expressed the country’s wish to receive Iran’s diplomatic note supporting Việt Nam’s run for a seat in the United Nations Security Council for 2020-21, as previously agreed by the two countries’ leaders.
Larijani, for his part, congratulated the Vietnamese NA on successfully holding the 26th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum.
He said he believed that the two countries will achieve the ambitious trade target, adding that Iran can assist Việt Nam in the field of oil and gas, and is eager to learn from Việt Nam’s experience in the agriculture sector.
The Iranian parliament speaker suggested potentially boosting ties in fields such as pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, banking connectivity, and tourism, as well as in film, television, and the exchange of lecturers and students.
He also said that while the two sides have previously operated several chartered flights, they must consider launching direct flight services to step up economic development, especially in the areas of trade and tourism.
Both sides agreed to enhance the exchange of state visits of all-levels, and to co-ordinate more closely in global and regional forums, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
The two leaders agreed that although bilateral trade reached $164.6 million in 2017, up 41 per cent from the previous year, the figure has yet to match its massive potential.
Speaker Larijani said that the statistics haven’t fully reflected actual bilateral trade revenue since many Vietnamese products in Iran were imported via a third country. He noted that the Iranian Government is in the process of creating more favourable conditions for Vietnamese tourists, including granting visas at ports of entry. If the Vietnamese Government also provides similar conditions, bilateral trade will increase, he said.
Ngân pointed out similarities between the two countries, such as that Iran is a populous Middle Eastern country while Việt Nam is a populous nation in Southeast Asia. The two should therefore prioritise the trading of goods that each side specialises in, and speed up the settlement of payment hurdles. Alongside this, they should encourage market surveying, trade promotion, and investment between the two countries’ businesses.
She said the fields of information technology and telecommunications hold major co-operation potential. Việt Nam wants to make bilateral partnerships in these spheres, and use them to make a breakthrough in bilateral ties, thereby stimulating co-operation in other fields.
Việt Nam’s military-run telecom group Viettel is very interested in the telecom market of Iran, she said, asking Iran to create favourable conditions for Viettel to take part in telecom projects in the Middle Eastern nation.
Larijani said his country will support the Việt Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) to reactivate the Danan project - the $115 million project involved building temporary oil wells in Iran’s Danan oil field. His current visit is also aimed at hearing the opinions of Vietnamese businesses interested in investing in Iran so as to remove obstacles and strengthen partnerships.
As well as investment and trade, Iran is ready to provide scholarships for Vietnamese students to study the Persian language and other subjects. They are also keen to continue exchanging university lecturers, and step up cultural and tourism cooperation through organising exhibitions, film screenings and other cultural events.
Regarding parliamentary ties, Ngân affirmed that parliamentary relations are an important channel in Việt Nam’s foreign policy. She expressed her hope that the two parliaments will bolster delegation exchanges at all levels, especially between specialised committees to share legislative and supervisory experience.
She noted that during the 14th NA of Việt Nam, an 8-member Việt Nam-Iran parliamentary friendship group was created, chaired by Vice Chairman of the NA’s Judicial Affairs Committee Nguyễn Văn Pha. She said that the two sides should further bring into play their parliamentary friendship groups to enhance co-operation between the two parliaments.
The two leaders also agreed to push the effective implementation of the signed agreements between the two nations, including deals reached by the countries’ inter-governmental committees.
Regional and international issues of shared concern were also discussed during the talks. Ngân pointed to the importance of the East Sea, which is a major shipping route linking Europe, the Middle East and Africa with Southeast Asia. The route is used in the transportation of 50 per cent of all goods delivered by sea around the world.
Maintaining the peace, stability, and security of navigation in and over the East Sea is in the common interest of all countries inside and outside the region, she said, stressing that Việt Nam advocates the settlement of East Sea disputes by peaceful means, in line with international law. She said that Việt Nam respects the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, paying attention to diplomatic and legal processes along with the rights and legitimate interests of relevant parties.
Sharing the view, Speaker Larijani said that Iran will prioritise finding diplomatic solutions in resolving conflicts and disputes.
At the end of the talks, Ngân accepted an invitation to visit Iran from the Iranian Speaker, saying that she will arrange time for the visit. The Vietnamese NA leader chaired a banquet for the Iranian guests in the evening of the same day. — VNS