STOCKHOLM — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc held a meeting with Speaker of the Swedish Parliament Andreas Norlen yesterday as part of his official visit to Sweden.
The Swedish parliament leader hailed PM Phúc’s visit, the first by a Vietnamese PM since 1999, in the context of the two countries organising various activities to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relationship.
PM Phuc emphasised that the Vietnamese delegation’s visit on the occasion of the important anniversary aimed to demonstrate Việt Nam’s gratitude for the support of the Swedish people both past and present.
He praised the contributions made by the Swedish parliament to the development of bilateral relations, and urged the parliaments of both countries to continue working together on the implementation of new agreements and co-operation directions.
Phúc said he wanted the two parliaments to consider the establishment of friendship parliamentarians’ groups to help boost co-operation.
The Vietnamese government leader asked the Swedish parliament to continue creating favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in the country to settle and integrate while preserving their cultural identity, thus contributing to friendship and mutual understanding between the two countries.
Norlen said the Swedish parliament supported and would make efforts to push for the early signing and ratification of the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement and the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement, which would benefit all sides. He said the signing of the FTA would create a strong impetus for economic and trade co-operation.
PM Phúc conveyed an invitation to visit Việt Nam from Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân to Norlen.
The previous day, the Vietnamese Government leader had a meeting with Swedish diplomats and experts who are considered great friends of Vietnamese people, including Birgitta Dahl, former Speaker of the Parliament, Anders Forsberg, former Secretary General of the Parliament, the present and former ambassadors of Sweden to Việt Nam, and two sons of late Prime Minister Olof Palme.
The PM recalled the history five decades ago when people across five continents took to streets to go on parade in support of Việt Nam’s justice cause in the war against the Americans. Sweden was the first western country to establish diplomatic ties with Việt Nam, adding that its precious material and spiritual support has encouraged the Vietnamese people to reap more victories.
He said many works funded by Sweden such as Bãi Bằng paper mill, Việt Nam National Children’s Hospital, Uông Bí hospital have become symbols of Việt Nam-Sweden ties. Support by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) has helped Việt Nam achieve the United Nations Millennial Development Goals and become a lower middle-income country towards gradual modernisation.
Speaking highly of progress in bilateral ties across economy, trade and investment, the PM informed participants about the success of his talks with Swedish counterpart Stefan Loefven, saying that both sides agreed on measures to continue lifting bilateral ties to a greater height.
The Vietnamese leader believed that bilateral connectivity will contribute to boosting trade and investment links and welcome opportunities brought about by the upcoming European Union-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement.
He also took the occasion to thank the Swedish government, businesses and friends for their support to the development of Việt Nam-EU ties.
The growing Việt Nam-Sweden friendship is partly attributable to generations of Swedish friends, he stated.
Swedish friends expressed their delight at regular bilateral visits over the past years, citing the recent Việt Nam visit by Crown Princess Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree and the ongoing visit by the PM.
They vowed to forever maintain and uphold bilateral long-standing friendship founded and fostered by generations of the two countries’ leaders and people. — VNS