Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc received delegations of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) Central Committee and the Vietnam Catholic Church’s Episcopal Council on the occasion of the lunar New Year in Hanoi on February 13.

The Deputy PM hailed the VBS’s religious activities during the past year, particularly the success of the 2014 United Nations Vesak Festival in Bai Dinh pagoda, the northern province of Ninh Binh, with nearly 1,500 foreign delegates from 95 countries and territories taking part.

He expressed hope that the VBS will continue to uphold the motto of “Religion-Nation-Socialism”, encouraging monks and nuns and followers nationwide to contribute more to the nation.

Most Venerable Thich Thanh Nhieu wished that the government will lead the country to fulfil the goals of wealthy people, a strong country and a fair, democratic and civilised society.

At a separate meeting with the Vietnam Catholic Church’s Episcopal Council Vice President, Archbishop Le Van Hong, Deputy PM Phuc said the Party and State recognised the great contributions that the Catholic community have made to the national construction and defence cause.

He reiterated that the Party and State always respect and ensure the people’s right to religious and belief freedom, and pursue the consistent policy to meet the legitimate rights and interests of religious followers.

Archbishop Hong said the government has, over the past time, done a lot to bring happiness to the public, including the Catholics. He wished the Deputy PM good health in the new year.

The same day, Phuc met and offered New Year greetings to the staff of the Ministry of Public Security’s General Department of Security.

He praised them for their good job in ensuring political security and social safety and order last year.

The Deputy PM stressed an important task for the department in the time to come which is to ensure security for the 12 th National Party Congress.-VNA