At the conference (Photo: VNA)
 
Paris (VNA) – The 11th conference on cooperation between Vietnamese and French localities was held in Paris on April 1 with a series of cooperation documents and economic contracts signed between businesses of the two nations.

The conference is expected to create a breakthrough, with the hope of becoming a model in reforming bilateral cooperation in all areas, from economy to culture and sustainable development, Jean-Claude Dardelet, Vice Mayor of Toulouse, said in his opening remarks.

The event highlighted both opportunities and challenges facing localities of the two countries, he said.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Cuong stressed the continuous development of cooperation between Vietnamese and French localities in terms of both quality and quantity over the past three decades.

The Vietnamese and French Governments should create more optimal conditions for localities and businesses to sign and implement more cooperation programmes effectively for benefits of both sides, Cuong suggested.

Geneviere Sevrin, director of the union of French cities (Cites Unies France –CUF), applauded the collaboration between Vietnamese and French cities and provinces, and efforts to turn the partnership into an important part of the relationship between the two countries.

According to Ambassador Christine Moro, who is in charge of international cooperation of French localities, the conference brought together representatives from 26 French localities and 34 Vietnamese localities, demonstrating the dynamism and development of this cooperation form.

The partnership between localities will be enhanced and expanded across spheres through specific project, bringing interests to both sides, the ambassador said.

The two-day conference touched upon national priorities, including bilateral commitments in the context that Vietnam and the EU will sign a free trade agreement in the time ahead.

More 600 delegates will attend seminars on the pioneering role of localities in  education and health care, socio-economic affairs and solidarity in bilateral affiliation in different spheres, ranging from urbanization to city sustainable development, global warming combat and climate change adaptation.

The first conference was held in Lille city, France in 1995. Hanoi will host the 12th conference in 2022.

Currently, 19 French localities are implementing cooperation projects with 17 Vietnamese counterparts, focusing on health care and education, French language teaching, culture, heritage, tourism, urban transport infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, science-technology, environment and clean water.-VNA