Conference reviews ties between Vietnam, Middle East – Africa hinh anh 1Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Quang Hieu speaks at the event (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Foreign Ministry chaired a mid-term review conference in both online and offline formats on December 20 on the implementation of a project on developing ties between Vietnam and the Middle East – Africa countries for the 2016-2025 period.

The event drew 200 delegates from 20 ministries, agencies and nearly 50 cities and provinces nationwide.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Quang Hieu affirmed that Vietnam always treasures strengthening friendship and cooperation with the Middle East – Africa. Over the past five years, bilateral political ties have laid a solid foundation for promoting all-around collaboration in the fields of economy, investment, trade and science.

Delegates stressed that the potential of cooperation between Vietnam and the region remains huge given the region's great potential in economy, finance and trade. Many countries in the region are promoting a Look East policy and attach importance to ties with Vietnam.

Economic and investment ties between Vietnam and the region have seen big progress, with two-way trade between both sides surging nearly 1.4-fold over the past five years. A number of regional development funds have provided official development assistance for infrastructure and poverty reduction projects in Vietnam’s remote and mountainous areas.

Cultural and people-to-people exchange has been expanded via the organisation of Vietnam Culture Days and photo and book exhibitions popularising Vietnam and its culture in countries in the region. Vietnam’s peacekeeping activities in the United Nations missions have been highly valued by the international community.

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese Government and firms have provided traditional friends in the region with medical masks and supplies. Many Middle East nations also provided vaccines and medical supplies for Vietnam.

However, participants agreed that such outcomes still fail to match the potential and cooperation demand of both sides, mostly due to the geographic distance, political instability in some countries in the region, and a lack of up-to-date information on the region and regional countries' policies. The COVID-19 pandemic also disrupted many exchange activities and supply chains.

Concluding the event, Deputy Minister Hieu said the Foreign Ministry will actively coordinate with ministries, sectors and agencies to support localities and enterprises in enhancing cooperation with countries in the Middle East - African region. /.