Vietnam attaches importance to and wishes to enhance cooperation with Italy and European Union countries in all fields on the basis of equality for mutual benefits and development, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has said.

Dung made the statement at a reception for former Italian Prime Minister and former President of the European Commission (EC) Romano Prodi on March 18. Prodi is in Vietnam to attend the fourth event of the “Bridges – Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace” series co-organised by the International Peace Foundation and the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training.

The PM affirmed Vietnam’s desire to be a friend, trust-worthy partner and responsible member of the international community for peace, prosperity and development.

Vietnam and other ASEAN countries wish to maintain peace and stability in the region to successfully establish the ASEAN Community by 2015, Dung noted.

He expressed his hope that Prodi and the EU will continue contributing to peace and stability in the region and support Vietnam in solving disputes in the East Sea by peaceful means on the basis of international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

He praised Prodi’s contributions to boosting the strong relations between Vietnam and Italy, the EC and the EU.

For his part, the former EC President expressed his delight with the developing relations between Vietnam and Italy as well as between Vietnam and the EU in all fields.

He underlined the need for all countries to overcome differences to cooperate with not only traditional friends but also others for the common goal of peace, prosperity and development, especially at a time that international relations have experienced a rapid and multidimensional change.

Prodi pledged to do his utmost for the development of relations between Vietnam and the EU, and between Vietnam and Italy in particular.

The same day, Dung hosted a reception for former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, during which he affirmed that Vietnam attaches importance to enhancing multi-faceted cooperation with the UK and the EU.

He spoke highly of Blair’s contributions to elevating the two countries’ cooperative ties to a strategic partnership, and said that the partnership’s achievements have brought practical benefits for each side’s development.

The PM expressed his hope that Blair will further contribute to strengthening cooperation between Vietnam and the UK, and the EU in all fields.

The former UK PM said he is impressed by Vietnam’s comprehensive achievements in national construction, socio-economic development and integration, holding that such gains have helped heighten the country’s position in the international arena.

Blair said his office is working closely and effectively with the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry in consultation, support and enhancement of economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

He pledged to continue supporting relations between Vietnam and the UK as well as between Vietnam and the EU in all areas, especially in economics and public-private partnerships.-VNA