Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on May 4 separately received French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry Christine Lagarde and Director General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Suleiman Jasir Al Herbish, who are attending the 44th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Hanoi.

At a reception for Christine Lagarde, PM Dung expressed his pleasure at the fruitful development of Vietnam-France relations in various areas, saying he believed that ties would continue to prosper in the future.

Vietnam wished the two sides would make every effort to lift their relations to the strategic partnership for mutual benefits and that France would continue its official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam , he said.

Although France is the leading European partner in Vietnam in terms of investment and trade, the two countries’ potential for cooperation remains greater, the PM noted.

His viewed was echoed by the French Minister, who said the two sides have boasted a lot of potential in trade, investment, training and education and culture.

Mentioning French-invested projects in Vietnam , especially energy and underground electric trains in Hanoi , PM Dung pledged to instruct relevant Vietnamese agencies to engage in discussion with French businesses while the French Minister affirmed that France will continue to assist Vietnam in such projects and suggested the two sides form a working group to boost their implementation.

At another reception, for OFID Director General, PM Dung thanked OFID for pouring 161 million USD into 17 projects in irrigation, transport and healthcare in Vietnam , contributing to the country’s hunger elimination and poverty reduction.

He proposed OFID continue its assistance for ongoing projects and provide non-refundable aid for health and education projects in poor localities.

He affirmed his support for the OFID programme, that gives loans to the private sector, and expressed his belief that the relations between Vietnam and OFID would develop further.

For his part, the OFID Director General said since its establishment 20 years ago, the fund had assisted 120 countries worldwide, and Vietnam was one of its priorities.

OFID-funded projects in Vietnam, especially in irrigation, health care and poverty reduction, have proved effective, he said, adding that OFID had also focused its support on other areas such as food security, energy and commercial and private loans./.