Finland’s President Tarja Halonen and her husband, Doctor Pentti Arajarvi today began an official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of Vietnam’s President from February 21-23.

She was given the red carpet by her Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Minh Triet at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.

At the reception, the two heads of state witnessed a ceremony to sign 4 major agreements on economic and social areas.

On the afternoon, President Tarja Halonen and a group of Finnish businessmen had a meeting with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung .

“The Vietnamese people will never forget the supports from the Finnish people in the Vietnamese national reunification cause. Vietnam always wishes to promote its friendly relationship and multi-faceted cooperation with Finland. We hope that the visit by Finland’s President Tarja Halonen and her husband, Doctor Pentti Arajarvi, which marked the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Helsinki and Hanoi, will bring already-good relations between the two countries to a new height,” said Vietnam’s Prime Minister at the meeting.

Regarding economic relations and cooperation, he said Vietnam is calling on more Finnish investment, especially in such areas as agriculture and rural development, aviation, science and technology, and training.

Finnish and Vietnamese businessmen have not exploited all potentials of the two countries, as figures of the bilateral trade and investment are still modest, said the Vietnamese Prime Minister.

Finland’s President Tarja Halonen highly valued the Vietnamese achievements in recent years and said that Finland always wants to strengthen and deepen friendship and relations with Vietnam, and is ready to share with Vietnam its experience in building laws and dealing with international issues.

She also affirmed that Finland will keep giving ODA to Vietnam, help Vietnam in its hunger elimination and poverty reduction, and support Vietnam in EU forums.

On her visit to Vietnam, she was accompanied by a group of businessmen. They are top officials of Finland’s leading companies, according to the president.

“Under the Finnish culture, we do rarely praise ourselves, but I believe these businessmen will create new parameters for economic relations between Finland and Vietnam,” said the Finnish President.

The Vietnamese Government will provide most favourable conditions for Finnish enterprises and businessmen who plan to invest in Vietnam, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung.

President Tarja Halonen and her husband also paid calls on Vietnam’s General Secretary of the Party Central Committee Nong Duc Manh and Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong on this afternoon.

Thu Nguyen