President Truong Tan Sang (R) and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – President Truong Tan Sang and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella agreed on a number of measures enhancing the countries’ co-operation during talks in Hanoi on November 6.

At the talks following the official welcome ceremony, President Truong Tan Sang said he regards the Italian leader’s first-ever State visit to Vietnam as an outstanding advance in bilateral relations, particularly in their strategic partnership.

He informed his guest about Vietnam’s recent situation, including the GDP growth rate of 6.5 percent and the acceleration of economic restructuring towards rapid, sustainable development.

Vietnam’s policies are to strongly implement the multilateralisation and diversification of international relations, make efforts to build a strong ASEAN Community, and deepen its ties with prioritised and traditional partners, including Italy.

Italy’s intensification of its relations with Vietnam is of significance, as Vietnam is speeding up integrating into international economic connectivity, and promoting important bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTA), including its FTA with the EU (VEFTA).

Both presidents expressed their delight at the large number of co-operation mechanisms, such as the strategic dialogue, the defence policy dialogue and the joint committee on economic co-operation. Meanwhile, regular delegation exchanges at all levels have expanded the scope of co-operation.

They said they highly valued their countries’ co-ordination at multilateral forums, helping improve their international position, especially in solving global challenges like climate change, food security and maritime security.

President Truong Tan Sang thanked Italy for supporting Vietnam’s election to the UN Economic and Social Council for the 2016 – 2018 term and for pledging to back the latter’s candidacy for the post of non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020 – 2021 term.

Measures to strengthen the countries’ co-operative relations that the leaders concurred in include promoting all forms of co-operation at the Governmental and local levels, effectively carrying out the action plan for 2015 and 2016, and bringing into play the role of dialogue mechanisms and the Joint Committee.

President Sergio Mattarella agreed on his host’s suggestion to urge the Italian Parliament to expeditiously approve the Vietnam – EU Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Co-operation, which was inked in 2012.

He said Italy completely supports Vietnam’s official signing of the VEFTA and the EU’s recognition of the country’s market economy status, adding that the VEFTA will energise Vietnam’s relations with the EU as well as with Italy.

The Vietnamese leader stressed that Vietnam also backs Italy’s stronger ties with the Asia-Pacific region and the ASEAN.

Touching upon regional matters, the Presidents exchanged views on increasing reef reclamation activities that have threatened peace, stability, security, and safety of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, home to a big international shipping route between Europe and East Asia.

President Truong Tan Sang asked Italy to raise its voice in the G7 group and the EU, advocating the peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law on the Sea, the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and endeavours to early form a Code of Conduct (COC) in the waters.

President Sergio Mattarella said he supports Vietnam’s stance of solving disputes through peaceful measures, respecting international law, maintaining navigation and aviation freedom, and ensuring regional safety and security.

He shared his host’s view that the two countries hold much potential for economic co-operation, noting that Italy has listed Vietnam among the 10 emerging markets it prioritises for developing trade and investment.

Many Italian enterprises are planning long-term operations and carrying out projects in Vietnam. The Southeast Asian nation should provide more favourable conditions for Italian companies’ activities, he added.

He said the countries need to encourage their businesses to form partnerships, particularly in spheres they have strength in such as manufacturing engineering, apparel, footwear, woodworking, support industries, construction material, energy, agriculture and food processing, and oil and gas exploration and exploitation.

The Italian President said his country is willing to co-operate with and transfer technology to Vietnam.

Additionally, the two sides discussed orientations for co-operation in culture – tourism, education – training, and science – technology, bolstering connections between their nations’ universities, and creating favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in Italy.

Following the talks, the two Presidents witnessed the signing of an action plan on realising the Vietnam – Italy strategic partnership by 2016, and an agreement on co-operation and mutual administrative assistance in customs.-VNA