|Capital view : An image of Khartoum, the second largest city in the Republic of Sudan_ Photo courtesy of Embassy of Sudan
On the occasion of the National Day of Sudan (January 1), Ambassador Sayed Altayeb Ahmed reflects on the nation's struggle for freedom and its growing relationship with Viet Nam
On the first of January every year, Sudanese in the homeland and abroad celebrate their Independence Day. Freedom was achieved in 1956 after 60 years of colonial rule. The struggle against the colonial powers was led by leaders and masses that made great sacrifices for the noble cause.
This year, the commemoration of our Independence Day takes place at a time when the world at large and the region in particular are witnessing a number of political and economic challenges and changes. Sudan is no exception.
The country witnessed important developments last year, notably the remarkable visit of H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan, to Khartoum and its tangible result on the tireless efforts to normalise and enhance its relationship with the Republic of South Sudan. Summits and high-level meetings between the two States were held and agreements reached to implement the Cooperation Agreement signed on September 27, 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In January, President Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir called for national dialogue encompassing all the political parties and forces including the civil societies. In addition, the negotiation with rebel factions continued in the framework of the Doha process in order to achieve lasting peace in the troubled Darfur region. This process is conducted in close co-operation with the African Union, the Arab League, the UN and all peace-loving and friendly countries.
This year has witnessed great strides in the development of bilateral relations between the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Republic of the Sudan. A number of official visits took place during this year involving ministries and other agencies. Those include the visit by Sudan's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, who presided over the Sudan side in the fifth round of Political Consultation between the two countries, which was held in Ha Noi in February.
From the Vietnamese side, there was the visit of the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to participate in the first meeting of the Joint Government Commission (JGC) held in Khartoum in April.
The Vietnamese Government's decision to open an Honorary Consulate in Khartoum will definitely cement and further the relationship between the two countries. The next task is to expand and deepen bilateral relations in all fields, especially commerce and culture. We believe that without people-to-people contacts, bilateral relations cannot flourish. Several Sudanese businessmen visited Viet Nam this year and the number is on the increase.
This year also witnessed the signing of the Maritime Agreement between the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Republic of the Sudan in Ha Noi in September in order to facilitate and enhance trade between the two countries.
Another three agreements in the fields of Visa Exemption for Diplomatic Passports, Avoidance of Double Taxation and Culture have already been concluded and are awaiting the final signature.
Besides, the Government of the Republic of the Sudan, aiming to boost the relationship in the field of education, has offered 10 scholarships for Vietnamese students to study Arabic in Sudan in addition to two scholarships in the field of eye treatment for three years. For its part, the Ministry of Education in Viet Nam agreed to offer five scholarships for Sudanese students for undergraduate studies in Vietnamese universities.
The two countries continued their co-operation in the agriculture and oil sectors in 2013. Sudanese authorities have consistently appreciated benefiting from Vietnamese technical and practical expertise, and we are confident that this year will see a strengthening of co-operation, especially in the agricultural sector.
Lastly, I would like to extend my best wishes to both Vietnamese and Sudanese people, especially those who live here in Viet Nam, for a pleasant and prosperous year full of happiness, health and wealth. For the New Year, I wish the relationship between Viet Nam and Sudan to be further enhanced in all fields of co-operation. — VNS