Senior officials from OIF member states pose for a photo before the opening of the 17th Francophonie Summit in Yerevan, Armenia on October 11. (Photo: VNA)

Moscow (VNA)
– Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on October 11 met with several other attendees on the sidelines of the ongoing 17th Francophonie Summit in Yerevan, Armenia.

Minh had a meeting with Foreign Minister of Mali Camara Kamissa, where the two agreed to increase exchanges of high-level visits to boost the two countries’ relations. He asked Mali to provide Vietnamese goods with broader market access and step up bilateral ties in telecommunications and agriculture, areas where Vietnam has successfully invested in African nations.

Kamissa noted his proposal, saying Mali pursues a foreign policy of diversifying relations, particularly with countries from Asia Pacific.

The Vietnamese Deputy PM later met with Andorra FM Maria Ubach Font to discuss ways to deepen mutual understanding between the two nations. They agreed to bolster exchanges of visits and enhance people-to-people exchange and tourism. Font added that Andorra stands ready to share experience with Vietnam in developing tourism and services.

In a meeting with Lebanese Minister of Tourism Avedis Guidania, Minh lauded the relations between Vietnam and Lebanon in recent years. He said there is plenty of room for the two sides to expand cooperation and suggested Lebanon help Vietnam send guest workers to the country.

The two officials later agreed to foster bilateral ties with a focus on trade, import-export, tourism and investment. They will encourage enterprises from each side to invest in the other and support each other at multilateral forums.

Minh also had a meeting with Haiti FM Bocchit Edmond, during which the two sides expressed delight at the development of bilateral relations in economics, trade and investment. Edmond affirmed Haiti attaches importance to ties with Vietnam and highly appreciated Viettel’s work in Haiti and what the Vietnamese telecom provider has contributed to the local society. He added that Haiti hopes to welcome more Vietnamese firms.

Speaking with Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Audrey Azoulay, Minh hailed the cooperation and assistance UNESCO has provided to Vietnam in recent years and expected that Azoulay will continue supporting Vietnam.

Minh took the occasion of the meetings to propose these countries support Vietnam’s candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020 – 2021 tenure, the only candidate from Asia-Pacific.

The 17th Francophonie Summit opened in Armenia on October 11, bringing together nearly 3,500 delegates from 84 member countries and territories of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) and its observers.

This year’s event focused on the theme “Living together in solidarity, sharing humanist values, and respect for diversity: Sources of peace and prosperity in the Francophone space”. It delivers a platform for OIF members to cement cooperation in response to common challenges, including terrorism, poverty, disease, water resource and food security, pollution, climate change, and international migration.

Established in 1970, the OIF’s mission is to engage its 84 member states and governments (58 members and 26 observers), which together represent more than a third of UN member states and account for a population of over 900 million people, including 274 million French speakers.

The IOF organises multilateral cooperation political activities and actions that benefit French-speaking populations.

Vietnam has been an OIF member since 1979. It hosted the summit’s 7th edition in Hanoi in 1997 which adopted the Charter of La Francophonie and elected the first OIF Secretary General. –VNA