Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn (right) and Switzerland’s Vice President and Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis attend a press conference after their talks on Thursday. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn proposed Switzerland continue to assist Việt Nam in accessing to COVID-19 vaccine supply, treatment drugs and necessary medical equipment during his talks with Switzerland’s Vice President and Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis on Thursday.
Welcoming the guest to Việt Nam, minister Sơn said the visit, which was made to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, would contribute to promoting stronger bilateral relations.
The two foreign ministers noted that Việt Nam-Switzerland relations are developing well in various fields including outstanding achievements in the 30-year implementation of the Swiss development co-operation programme with Việt Nam which Switzerland has provided assistance of US$662.5 million for Việt Nam.
The Vietnamese foreign minister thanked the Swiss Government for continuing to prioritise Official Development Assistance to Vietnam in the future, focusing mainly on environmental protection and economic reform.
According to Việt Nam’s General Department of Customs, the total import and export turnover between the two countries in 2020 and during 2016-18 period remained at about US$1 billion. The import value always reached nearly $1 billion, which was almost 1.5 to 2 times higher than the export value.
The two ministers discussed orientations to foster co-operation in politics - diplomacy, economy, investment, trade, science-technology, education and training.
They agreed to increase delegation and high-level exchanges between ministries, sectors and localities, deepening mutual understanding and trust, and promoting substantive cooperation for the post-COVID-19 period.
The two sides said they would create a favourable environment for enterprises of the two countries to expand investment and business in each other's markets, and share efforts to soon conclude the negotiation of the Free Trade Agreement between Việt Nam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in order to create a strong impetus for bilateral trade and investment exchanges.
On behalf of the Vietnamese Government, foreign minister Sơn thanked the Switzerland Federal Department of Foreign Affairs for donating 500,000 quick COVID test kits, about 300,000 antibacterial masks and 30 oxygen machines with a total value of about VNĐ117 billion to Việt Nam.
Sơn said the presents were an extremely valuable and timely support for Việt Nam.
Vice president Ignazio Cassis believed that Việt Nam will soon recover from the pandemic and agreed that the two countries need to continue to share experiences in COVID prevention as well as roadmap of opening up and recovering the economy.
He said the two countries need to strengthen bilateral cooperation in healthcare, especially the technology transfer of COVID vaccines and treatment drugs.
Also at the talks, the two officials agreed to continue co-operation and strengthen mutual support at multilateral forums and international organisations, including ASEAN and the United Nations.
The Swiss foreign minister affirmed his support for ASEAN's central role in regional structures and thanked Việt Nam for acting as a bridge to bolster Switzerland-ASEAN partnership.
The two ministers emphasised the importance of complying with international laws, ensuring freedom of navigation, overflight, security and peace in the East Sea, in which the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the legal framework governing all activities at seas.
Minister Sơn proposed the Swiss Government continue to create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in Switzerland to integrate well, contribute positively to the Swiss development and to strengthening the friendship and co-operation between the two countries.
The same day Switzerland’s Vice President and Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis greeted Vietnamese vice president Võ Thị Ánh Xuân and met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính. — VNS