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NA Chairman holds talks with French Senate President

NA Chairman holds talks with French Senate President

Vietnam wants to further deepen its strategic partnership with France via political party, parliament and government channels as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue told President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher in their talks that followed a welcome ceremony for the latter in Hanoi on December 8.

Hue hailed Larcher’s two-day visit as a significant activity at a time when the two countries are preparing for the 50th founding anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership next year. It is also the first visit to Asia by the Senate President in his second tenure.

During their talks, the two sides discussed ways to strengthen coordination across politics, diplomacy, economy, trade, investment, culture, social affairs, and national defence-security, while sharing legislative experience.

Larcher affirmed that Vietnam plays an important role in France’s foreign policy, adding that Vietnam also has a very important role and position in the international arena in general and ASEAN in particular. When Vietnam held the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020, France became a development partner of ASEAN.

They shared the view that relations between the Vietnamese NA and the French Senate have reaped important results in line with a cooperation agreement signed in 2003. They agreed to continue exchanging views to update and revise the agreement in the new context.

Hue wished that the two sides would enhance the sharing of experience among subordinate agencies, as well as friendship, female and young parliamentarians’ groups.

Vietnam plans to host the Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians next year, hence Hue hoped that both the French Senate and NA will send delegates to the event.

The French leader expressed his willingness to share legislative experience with Vietnam, including in healthcare. He also wished to enhance locality-to-locality cooperation. At present, there are 55 joint projects between 20 French and over 30 Vietnamese cities and provinces.

Hue said the two countries’ parliamentary agencies should hold activities on the occasion of a conference on cooperation between French and Vietnamese localities in Hanoi next year, with lawmakers and deputies of local People’s Councils taking part.

Larcher stressed that French enterprises want to invest in Vietnam as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) was enforced.

Two-way trade has failed to catch up with the potential of the bilateral ties and the two sides have yet to take full advantage of the EVFTA, Hue said, suggesting the two nations step up import-export activities both at central and local levels.

On the occasion, the top Vietnamese legislator suggested the French Senate soon approve the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) to draw more European investments, including those from France, to Vietnam.

Host and guest pledged to jointly deal with existing problems and accelerate projects funded by France in Vietnam. The two legislatures will increase supervision of public investment- and French-funded projects in the Southeast Asian country.

On education-training cooperation, the two leaders stressed the need to increase French scholarships for Vietnamese students as the number in the European country remains low.

Agreeing with the Vietnamese NA Chairman’s proposal to work closely together on regional and global issues and at multilateral forums, including the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Larcher proposed establishing a consultation mechanism before attending multilateral cooperation forums to improve coordination efficiency.

The two leaders also underscored the importance of ensuring peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea, and settling disputes by peaceful measures in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Larcher took this occasion to invite Hue to pay an official visit to France, and the Vietnamese leader accepted the invitation with pleasure./.