Vietnam boosts traditional friendship with African countries
President Tran Dai Quang’s state visits to Ethiopia and Egypt from August 23-29 have created new momentum for bilateral relations between Vietnam and the two countries, and opened new opportunities for effective cooperation between Vietnam and African nations.
The two trips, made at the invitation of Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, have recorded positive outcomes regarding the exchange of content between all sides, successful documents signed, as well as President Quang’s sideline activities.
At the end of the visits, Vietnam and the two countries issued joint statements chalking up major orientations to boost bilateral ties in the future.
Vietnam, Ethiopia bring relations to new height
In Ethiopia from August 23-25, President Tran Dai Quang held talks with Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome and also had separate meetings with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Speaker of the House of Federation Keria Ibrahim.
This is the first visit by a State leader of Vietnam to the African country since the two nations set up diplomatic ties in 1976.During their talks in Addis Ababa on August 23, President of Ethiopia Mulatu Teshome described the State visit to his country by President Tran Dai Quang as a particularly important political event.The host said President Quang is the first head of State of Vietnam to visit Ethiopia since the two countries set up diplomatic ties in 1976. He expressed his belief that the visit will create a new momentum for bilateral relations in the time ahead.President Quang congratulated Ethiopia on its impressive strides which have turned the country into an example of economic development in Africa with an average growth rate of 10 percent over the past decade, considerably improving its people’s living standards and opening up many prospects for cooperation with various countries around the world, including Vietnam.He highly valued Ethiopia’s role and active contributions as a member of the African Union and the United Nations, including peacekeeping activities, to help ensure security and stability in the region and the world over.President Teshome said the Ethiopian people and himself always admire the Vietnamese people for the latter’s struggle for national independence in the past and development achievements at present.He noted that he is impressed with Vietnam’s becoming an economy with fast and stable economic growth and a leading exporter of agricultural products in the world. He hopes the Southeast Asian nation will share experience in economic development, especially in the fields it is experienced in like agriculture and aquaculture.
The two sides said Vietnam and Ethiopia have a fine traditional friendship – an important basis for promoting economic, trade and investment ties. They agreed to provide favourable conditions for the countries’ enterprises to invest and do business in each other’s markets, specify suitable payment measures to support businesses, and increase market survey and share policy information. They will also consider appointing honorary consuls to create more connection channels and tap into economic partnership opportunities in a timely manner.
The Presidents agreed to step up delegation exchanges at all levels, cooperation between the two countries’ parliaments and localities, as well as people-to-people, cultural and sports exchanges to boost mutual understanding.
On this occasion, President Quang invited his counterpart to visit Vietnam. The host accepted the invitation with pleasure.
At the end of the talks, the leaders witnessed the signing of cooperation documents, including a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on investment cooperation between the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ethiopian Investment Commission, an agreement on visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders and an MoU on cooperation between the two ministries of foreign affairs.
Subsequently, the two Presidents held a press meeting to announce the talks’outcomes.
The Vietnamese leader voiced his belief that his visit will be an important milestone in bringing bilateral cooperation to a new stage and in line with the sound traditional friendship.
The Presidents told the media that they discussed all aspects of cooperation and reached high consensus on measures to enhance political tied and expand connections in economy, agriculture, telecommunications, aviation, culture and tourism. They considered economic partnership as the foundation for developing bilateral cooperation in a substantive fashion.
Vietnam and Ethiopia are determined to continue supporting each other to reach development targets for the sake of common progress and prosperity in Asia and Africa. They will also maintain mutual support within the framework of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement and the South-South Cooperation, President Quang said.
He added the countries also share the view on the need to peacefully solve disputes and comply with international law.
The Vietnamese leader also noted that with the countries’ resolve to raise bilateral trade, Vietnam can export agricultural products, tea, coffee, rubber, electronic products, building materials and vehicles to Ethiopia, and share experience and cooperate with the African nation in rice production and export. He also pledged to facilitate the two business communities’ promotion of trade and investment, participation in fairs, and information exchange.
For his part, President Teshome said to bolster mutual understanding, the two countries should strengthen political trust at a high level and connections at all levels. He also emphasised the importance of peace and security for the prosperity of all nations.
Ethiopia and Vietnam boast huge cooperation potential in various spheres, particularly trade, investment, food processing and infrastructure development, he said, affirming that his country is ready to create the best conditions for Vietnamese firms to access its market to seek investment and business chances. It is also willing to intensify collaboration in education, agriculture and aviation.
The leaders agreed to consider opening a direct air route to facilitate travel, exchange and trade between the two countries.
Ethiopia highly values Vietnam’s agricultural experience and development, especially rice and coffee cultivation, said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, expressing his hope that Vietnam will assist his country in human resources training and share experience in agriculture, which is the main cooperation orientation in the coming time.
Ethiopia will design attractive policies to encourage investors, especially in manufacturing industry, apparel, renewable energy, construction and agricultural processing, said Ethiopian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Prof. Afwork Kassu.
New milestone in Vietnam-Egypt relations
President Tran Dai Quang’s visit to Egypt from August 25-29 took place at a time when the two countries are celebrating 55 years of diplomatic relations.
This is the first State visit by a Vietnamese head of State to Egypt since the countries set up diplomatic ties in 1963.
President Quang held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and met with Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel Aal and Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.
At his talks with President Tran Dai Quang on August 27, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi lauded his Vietnamese counterpart’s visit, affirming that it will help promote the bilateral traditional friendship and all-round cooperation.
Both leaders briefed each other on the current situation in each country, showing their pleasure at the recent progress of bilateral relations with the success of the first meeting of the Sub-Committee on Trade and Industry Cooperation in Egypt in April 2018 to realise the outcomes of the Inter-Governmental Committee’s fifth meeting in August 2017.
Through the mechanisms, Vietnam and Egypt agreed on specific measures to strengthen their cooperation in various fields, they said, noting that in the first half of 2018, two-way trade reached 230 million USD, a surge of 44.5 percent year-on-year.
President Tran Dai Quang expressed his delight at the attainments that Egypt has gained over the past few years under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, positioning Egypt as one of the leading economies in Africa with a GDP of nearly 1.2 trillion USD and growth of over 5 percent.
He congratulated President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi for being re-elected as president, saying that he believes Egypt will go on to gain greater achievements, and maintain socio-economic stability and economic growth for a more prosperous country.
He proposed that Vietnam and Egypt maintain regular meetings between senior leaders; encourage delegation exchanges among ministries, sectors, and localities; and promoting cooperation at multilateral forums, especially within the framework of the UN, South-South Cooperation, Non-Aligned Movement, and the Francophone.
The Vietnamese leader suggested that Egypt, as a member of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, act as a bridge for ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, to get closer to the African Union and its members.
Egypt should remove trade barriers and create favourable conditions for Vietnamese goods to access its market, especially in terms of farm produce, aquatic products, and construction materials, while finalising legal procedures to approve the Double-Taxation Avoidance Agreement signed with Vietnam in March 2006, he asked.
The Vietnamese President welcomed Egypt to send its puppetry artists to the country to perform in November this year within activities to celebrate the 55th founding anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.The two countries should maintain the effective implementation of their cultural cooperation programme in the 2017-2021 period and the tourism affiliation programme throughout the 2017-2019 period. He thanked Egypt for coordinating with and creating optimal conditions for the Vietnamese Embassy to launch television programmes and seminars to honour late President Ho Chi Minh, who visited Egypt three times. For his part, President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi said that with its position connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe, Egypt is willing to help Vietnamese goods access the Egyptian market, including the upcoming launch of the Halal trade standard programme and supporting Vietnamese officials in learning Halal standards for goods exported to Muslim markets, including Egypt. Egypt will strengthen bilateral collaboration in recognising each other’s flora and fauna quarantine measures for farm produce and seafood. The two leaders also concurred to increase delegation exchanges and experience sharing in security, defence, economy, trade, investment, culture, sports, tourism, agriculture, transportation, and locality-to-locality cooperation, with particular focus on promoting economic partnerships for the target of one billion USD in bilateral trade in the next five years. The two sides welcomed the signing of a cooperation deal between Ninh Binh province of Vietnam and Luxor city of Egypt, laying the foundation for other localities to set up partnerships. Vietnam and Egypt will maintain scholarship programmes for Vietnamese students to study the Arabic language in Egypt, they agreed, assigning ministries, sectors, and localities of both sides to effectively realise the signed agreements in the field.
Egypt is Vietnam’s fifth largest trade partner in Africa with two-way trade hitting 346 million USD in 2017. The two countries aim to raise their trade to 1 billion USD in the near future.
Both leaders agreed to maintain close affiliation at multilateral forums and in global matters such as anti-terrorism and sustainable use of water resources.
At the talks, the two Presidents witnessed the signing of a number of important cooperation deals between ministries, sectors, localities, and enterprises, including a memorandum of understanding between Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, and another between the two trade and industry ministries.
Vietnam treasures ties with African nations
President Tran Dai Quang has emphasised Vietnam’s consistent policy of attaching importance to ties with African nations during his meeting with Acting President of the African Union (AU) Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil. At his meeting on August 24, President Quang expressed his pleasure to visit the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the first time, and congratulated the union on the success of its summit held in June 2018, during which the union approved the establishment of an African free trade area.
He highly valued AU member countries’ determination in promoting the union’s reform toward a strong united community. The President spoke highly of the AU’s role and contributions to maintaining peace, security and stability in the continent and the world at large. He said he wishes developing countries, including those in Africa, and Vietnam support each other to further increase their voice and influence in multilateral mechanisms like the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and South-South cooperation framework. He asked African countries to back Vietnam’s candidacy to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021 tenure. As a responsible member of the international community, Vietnam has sent officers to join the UN peacekeeping force in Africa, he said. Highlighting considerable outcomes in cooperation between Vietnam and African countries, the President said Vietnam organised the Vietnam-Africa cooperation forums in 2003 and 2010 and carried out numerous cooperation projects in agriculture and fisheries in Africa, thus contributing to ensuring food security for African countries. Many Vietnamese experts in health care, education and agriculture have been working in some African countries such as Angola and Mozambique, contributing to local socio-economic development. He affirmed that Vietnam and Africa have always provided mutual support in the past and at present. Vietnam has officially set up diplomatic ties with 53 out of the 55 countries in Africa, he added.
For her part, Acting President of the AU Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil congratulated Vietnam on its strong steps of development while highly appreciating the country’s participation in the UN peacekeeping force, contributing to maintaining peace in Africa.
She highly valued cooperation between African countries and Vietnam in priority areas such as processing, agriculture, mining and tourism, while wishing that Vietnam would act as a bridge connecting with Asia, particularly Asia Southeast Asia.
The AU leader thanked Vietnam for supporting people of African countries via telecommunications technology, and said that the AU is willing to cooperate with Vietnam at multilateral forums, especially in the framework of the UN and the Francophonie.
During their meeting, both host and guest noted that trade value and investment between Vietnam and Africa is still modest, suggesting both sides should set up a regular dialogue mechanism in order to further strengthen coordination at international forums and protect the interests of developing countries.
They agreed to consider effective cooperation models and increase the exchange of information and experiences in areas of shared concern, such as peacekeeping in the framework of the UN, agricultural development, education, infrastructure, information technology and telecommunications, for the benefit of the Vietnamese and African people, thus contributing to prosperity and development in each region as well as in the world.