NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan speaks at the event (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan attended the opening session for both meetings of the Francophone Parliamentary Assembly (APF)’s Women’s Parliamentary Network and the APF Education, Communication and Cultural Affairs Committee in Hanoi on February 26.

In her opening speech, NA Chairwoman Ngan warmly welcomed participants to the events, which saw the participation of delegates from APF and its chapters, those from the International Francophone Organisation (OIF), ambassadors from member countries of OIF in Vietnam, chief representatives of international organisations in Hanoi, and Vietnamese parliamentarians.

According to the Vietnamese top legislator, the APF is a gathering place for French-speaking parliamentarians with the goal of pushing governments to move forward with aspirations for global peace and stability.

From the 23 member parliaments that attended the first meeting of the International Assembly of French Language Parliamentarians (AIPLF) in Luxembourg in 1967 to the 87 members in 2018, the development of the organisation amongst the Francophone community, as well as in the international arena, has been clearly evidenced during the 50 years since its establishment, NA Chairwoman Ngan said.

Vietnam appreciates the APF’s role in international activities through initiating and implementing inter-parliamentary cooperation programmes; strengthening friendship and solidarity between parliaments; and contributing to the growing development of parliamentary diplomatic activities to improve the position and voice of parliamentarians in regional and international issues, she said.

The head of the Vietnamese parliament said Vietnam has consistently implemented a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation, and development; the diversification and multilateralisation of international relations; active international integration; and being a friend, trusted partner, and responsible member of the international community.

The OIF and its member countries have always held an important position in Vietnam’s foreign policy, she stressed, adding that Vietnam has always shared and supported the values and goals of the Francophone community in terms of peace, democracy, cultural and language diversity, solidarity, cooperation, and development.

These are also the goals that the State and people of Vietnam are making efforts to implement in the country’s comprehensive renovation process at present, having gained important achievements in many fields, she noted.

She stated that the Vietnamese NA, as the highest representative body of the people, is actively reforming its operation in the spirit of democracy and rule of law.

Regarding parliamentary diplomacy, the NA of Vietnam has always been an active and responsible member of regional and global inter-parliamentary organisations, such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the APF, the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), the ASEAN Inter Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), and other inter-parliamentary organisations, Ngan said.

She underlined the need to enhance solidarity and closer cooperation among French-speaking countries and the international community. She also stressed the role played by the French-speaking community in promoting mutual understanding, respecting diversity, promoting cooperation to maintain peace and stability, and solving both global and Francophone nation problems.

She proposed that the Women’s Parliamentary Network discuss measures on how to strengthen the role of women in politics, especially in raising the proportion of female delegates in parliaments; promoting the role of women in start-up activities and business development; and ensuring the rights of women and girls to have full access to education, healthcare, and all aspects of culture.

The APF Education, Communication, and Cultural Affairs Committee needs to work with mechanisms of the OIF to outline effective measures to strengthen the position of the French language in national organisations, as well as increase the number of French learners in countries through scholarships for training programmes, she said.

The Vietnamese top legislator hoped that the APF and other inter-parliamentary organisations will be vehicles for parliamentarians to continue to express their views, thus reflecting the aspirations of the people towards building and protecting a world of solidarity, peace, and multilateral cooperation, as well as settling disputes on the basis of respect for international law and towards sustainable development.

Lydienne Époubé, President of the Women’s Parliamentary Network and President of the APF Education, Communication, and Cultural Affairs Committee Didier Berberat expressed their belief that with the strong commitment and active participation of its delegates, the event will be a great success.

The two meetings will last until February 28. –VNA