Drian highly spoke of major steps taken by Vietnam and France in strengthening their strategic partnership, reflected by the recent phone talks between President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and French President E. Macron, and between PM Pham Minh Chinh and his French counterpart Jean Castex.

Vietnam remains a key partner of France in its foreign policy towards Indo-Pacific, he said, adding that France agreed to join Vietnam in preparing for the next visits by their high-ranking leaders as well as the upcoming 12th conference on decentralized cooperation between the two countries in 2022 and celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties and the 10th year of the strategic partnership in 2023.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son holds phone talks with French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian on July 23, during which the latter pledges to help accelerate COVID-19 vaccine supplies to Vietnam via COVAX.

He also hailed Vietnam for what it has done to combat COVID-19 and develop the economy at the same time while thanking the Vietnamese government for facilitating France’s shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to Vietnam to inoculate its citizens here.

He acknowledged various efforts made by Vietnam to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as the country seeks to remove the “yellow card” issued by the European Commission (EC) on its aquatic exports to the EU, saying he is confident that the EC will soon lift the warning.

Minister Son, for his part, emphasized the need to maintain bilateral activities in the context of the pandemic, suggesting both sides coordinate in implementing existing cooperation and dialogue mechanisms in the fields of diplomacy and economy and defence.

He welcomed France’s active and constructive role in the EU, thanked the country for actively backing the Vietnam-EU cooperation, especially in promoting the signing and ratification of the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and asked the French Government and National Assembly to accelerate the ratification process of the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

On the basis of the bilateral strategic partnership, the Vietnamese official urged France to support Vietnam’s access to and transfer of COVID-19 vaccine production technology and medical equipment amidst the complex developments of the pandemic, and facilitate Vietnamese seasonal agricultural products’ approach to the French market.

The two ministers appreciated the two countries’ close coordination and mutual support at multilateral forums such as the United Nations and ASEAN-EU cooperation, especially when Vietnam assumed the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020 and serves a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure.

They exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern. Both affirmed the importance of ensuring navigation and aviation freedom, security and peace in the East Sea (South China Sea), emphasizing the role of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) as the legal framework for all activities at seas and oceans.

On this occasion, Son invited the French minister to visit Vietnam when possible.

Source: VNA