President Truong Tan Sang and Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson inspect the guard of honour at the President Palace in Hanoi. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - President Truong Tan Sang and his Icelandic counterpart Olafur Ragnar Grimsson shared the wish for stronger economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries during their talks in Hanoi on November 4.

At the talks, President Sang said that the visit would create a new framework for cooperation between the two countries.

He informed President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson that Vietnam is switching to the quality growth model while accelerating the restructuring of the economy for rapid and sustainable development towards modernisation and industrialisation.

He also highlighted Vietnam’s policy of international integration, adding the country has joined many bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, contribute to peace and stability in the region and deepen relations with all partners in continents.

In the relationship with Iceland, President Sang recommended the increase of exchanges and contacts in all levels. He welcomed the deal on cooperation in geothermal energy signed between the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the visit.

The two sides need to assist their enterprises in seeking business opportunities and connectivity, especially in fields where Iceland has the upper hand and Vietnam has demand, such as seafood fishing and processing and renewable energy, the President said.

President Sang also thanked Iceland and the European Free Trade Association for recognising Vietnam as a market economy and wished that Iceland speed up negotiations of a free trade agreement between the two countries, taking into consideration the development gap, and conclude the negotiation in the earliest possible time, thus allowing enterprises from the two countries to approach opportunities in each market.

President Sang also recommended that the two countries study the possibility of negotiating and signing cooperation agreements on education and training, as well as exchanging experience on social welfare, gender equality, and the care for children and the disabled.

He hoped the Icelandic government will continue creating favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in Iceland to integrate into the host society and play the role as a bridge to boost the friendship between the two countries.

President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson thanked Vietnam for the warm reception given to the Icelandic delegation and recalled his participation in protests against the war in Vietnam.

President Grimsson said his visit aims to expand cooperation with Vietnam in many fields, especially in sustainable fishery, the exploitation and use of clean energy, and academic exchanges between universities.

He noted the importance of the framework agreement on climate change signed in Paris on October this year, and urged Vietnam to actively take part in that positive dialogue mechanism.

Iceland is willing to help Vietnam develop renewable energy as a way to respond to climate change and for the sake of the environment.

The President said two conferences on fishing, renewable energy and thermal power will be held during the visit and promised to provide more scholarships to Vietnamese students to pursue study in these fields.

He also agreed with his host on the need to end negotiation on free trade agreements between Vietnam and the EU, the European Free Trade Association and Iceland as early as possible.

Exchanging views on a number of regional and international issues of shared interest, President Sang thanked Iceland for supporting Vietnam’s bid to join the United Nations Human Rights Council, the UN Economic and Social Council ( ECOSOC ) and hoped Iceland will support Vietnam to become a member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.

Touching upon the East Sea issue, the two leaders shared concerns on recent happenings and emphasised the need to resolve disputes via peaceful measures in line with international laws, the UN Charter and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

They also agreed that relevant parties need to reach a binding Code of Conduct for the East Sea (COC), considering it as an effective way to ensure peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of maritime navigation and aviation and trade in the East Sea.

After the meeting, the two Presidents witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of geothermal energy between the MoIT and the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and an MoU on cooperation between the Vietnam National University of Hanoi and the Reykjavík University.

The President also held a joint press conference following their talks and informed the media on the reached measures to promote bilateral ties.-VNA