The relations between Vietnam and France as well as Europe since the signing of the 1954 Geneva Agreement on the restoration of peace in Vietnam is the focus of an ongoing international workshop in Paris.

The three-day event, which began in January 16, is jointly held by Paris I Pantheon-Sorbone University of France, Vietnam’s University of Social Sciences and Humanities, and several other partners.

As part of activities within the framework of the “2013-2014 Vietnam-France, France-Vietnam Year”, the workshop also aims to mark the 40 th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Following the Dien Bien Phu victory in 1954 that ended the invasion war waged by French colonialists, the Vietnam-France relations underwent a difficult period. However, the bilateral ties have entered a new chapter since the two countries established their diplomatic relations in 1973.

Over the past four decades, both sides have made every effort to cultivate the relationship, notably the signing of many cooperation agreements and mechanisms in various areas.

Besides, bilateral dialogue has been expanded to a multilateral one, especially through the Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM).

On the first working day, delegates looked back at milestones in the defence ties, which started with France’s opening of its defence attache office in Vietnam in 1991.

France has pledged to support Vietnam in training peace-keeping forces within the framework of activities of the United Nations.

Major General Daniel Schaeffer, first French military attache to Vietnam, stressed that the two countries boast a lot of potential for defence cooperation, not only in the provision of military technologies but also officer training.

He suggested the two sides broaden the bilateral relations into those between European and Southeast Asian countries in order to ensure free navigation at international seas.

Historians, experts and historic witnesses highlighted potential for comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and France with the elevation of the bilateral relations into a strategic partnership during Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to France in September last year.

They also talked about the upcoming visits to Vietnam by French President Francois Hollande and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian scheduled for this year.

Cooperation in politics, economics, trade, culture, science and education will also be tabled at the workshop.-VNA