Tripodi said that Italy was one of the first Western countries to set up diplomatic relations with Vietnam in 1973. Since then, the two sides have maintained their profound friendship and solidarity.

During COVID-19, the Vietnamese government presented Italy with more than 300,000 masks, while Italy provided Vietnam with over 2.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, she noted.

Italian Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Maria Tripodi

She underlined that for Italy, Vietnam is an important interlocutor and an essential partner to ensure balance and promote sustainable economic progress in the Indo-Pacific, a region that is playing a more central role than ever in international politics. Italy is strengthening its commitment to the implementation of the European Union (E.U.) Strategy.

According to the Italian official, one of the bright spots in bilateral relations is the Joint Committee on economic cooperation, which has supported the two sides in obtaining achievements in economic and trade collaboration. Italy is pleased to organize the eighth meeting of the committee later this year.

She noted that 10 years ago, the two sides signed strategic cooperation agreements, providing the necessary institutional framework for the growth of bilateral relations. Joint action plans have also facilitated the strengthening of bilateral cooperation, which has gone beyond economic exchanges and expanded to other new strategies with full of opportunities such as defense, justice and environment.

Commenting on the cooperation potential between the two countries in the future, Tripodi said that along with strong connections reflected via regular exchange of high-level visits, the two sides have enjoyed fruitful economic and trade ties, with two-way trade hitting nearly 6 billion EUR (6.2 billion USD) last year.

In terms of defense, since 2013, the two sides have organized a strategic defense dialogue at deputy ministerial level every two years. The fourth edition of the dialogue will be held in Rome later this year, she said.

In the field of justice, the two countries are about to sign three important agreements on criminal justice cooperation, transfer of detainees and extradition, according to Tripodi.

Over environmental cooperation, she said that on the sidelines of the first E.U. - ASEAN Summit, Vietnam signed the Just Energy Transition Partnership, an initiative to finance the energy transition which was initiated by G7 members, the E.U., Denmark and Norway. She said that Italy will join hands with Vietnam by providing 500 million EUR (532 million USD) in five years through the Green Climate Fund and the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, an Italian financial service provider that offers banking and financial services.

The memorandum of understanding signed between the Ministry of Environment of Italy and the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, which took effect in 2018, has prompted the growth of the cooperation in the field, she said.

In the field of science and culture, the Italy - Vietnam Science and Technology Cooperation Committee will meet in Italy this year, during which the two sides are expected to sign a new cultural protocol, she said.

The official underlined that Italy’s cooperation with ASEAN, including Vietnam, an influential and active member of the grouping, has been effective. Since 2020, the development partnership has linked Italy and ASEAN, helping the relationship between the two sides continue to grow thanks to a variety of training and capacity-building activities coordinated and sponsored by the Italian Foreign Ministry, in which Vietnam is an active participant.

Regarding activities to mark the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, she said that the opening of the series will be held on March 31 with a Vietnamese fashion show in Rome, one day after the political consultation between Tripodi and her Vietnamese counterpart Le Thi Thu Hang.

A ceremony to celebrate the anniversary and the 10-year strategic partnership between the two countries will also be held during Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong’s visit. A closing ceremony of the Italy - Vietnam Year 2023 is scheduled for the end of the year, she said, adding that a number of cultural and art activities will also be organized.

Tripodi held that in order to further promote the bilateral ties, Italy hopes to strengthen political dialogue and mutual understanding with Vietnam, especially amid the complicated world situation.

At the end of this year, the signing of the Action Plan for the 2024-2026 period within the Strategic Partnership Document will allow Italy and Vietnam to renew their shared commitment and broaden the path to success that the two countries have traveled together, thus creating a solid foundation to further strengthen the already sound bilateral relationship, she stated.

Source: VNA