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Spokeswoman: Vietnam always respects policy on freedom of religion and belief

 Vietnam always respects and consistently implements a policy of ensuring citizens’ right to freedom of religion and belief and to follow or not follow a religion, guarantees equality and non-discrimination based on religion or belief, and protects operations of religious organisations in line with the law, the Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang has said.

During the ministry’s regular press conference in Hanoi on May 13, Hang affirmed that Vietnam acknowledges the US Secretary of State’s International Religious Freedom Report 2020, which mentions the country’s efforts in ensuring and promoting religion and belief.

However, she said the report contains non-objective opinions based on incorrect information on the situation in Vietnam, adding that the nation's efforts and achievements in ensuring citizens’ right to freedom of religion and belief have been widely welcomed by the international community.

It always stands ready to engage in straightforward and open discussions with the US in a constructive spirit on issues where the two sides still have differences, to increase mutual understanding and contribute to the development of the bilateral comprehensive partnership, the spokeswoman said.

Asked to comment on the recent escalating conflict in the Gaza Strip, Hang said Vietnam has kept a close watch and is deeply concerned about escalating violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories over recent days that have killed and injured civilians.

Vietnam called on all parties concerned to exercise restraint, end the escalation of tensions, and deal with the conflict via peaceful measures, thus ensuring the safety and legitimate interests of people.

Regarding the East Jerusalem issue, she affirmed Vietnam’s consistent stance that every solution needs to observe international law, especially relevant UN resolutions./.