Vietnam always attaches importance to and wishes to develop its time-honoured friendship and multifaceted cooperation with Myanmar, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

PM Dung made the statement during talks with his Myanmar counterpart Thein Sein in the Myanmar capital city of Nay Pyi Taw on April 2, upon his arrival for a three-day visit to the country.

He spoke highly of political relations between the two nations and proposed that the two sides increase the exchange of visits at all levels and fully implement bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the joint committee and political consultation between their ministries of Foreign Affairs.

The Vietnamese leader said he hoped that the ongoing visit would elevate the Vietnam-Myanmar relationship to a new height and create a major change in the quality of ties in economics, trade and investment.

PM Dung affirmed his support for Myanmar’s roadmap towards democratisation and urged Myanmar to make greater efforts to hold fair and free general elections in 2010 in the interests of the Myanmar people and for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region.

PM Thein Sein warmly welcomed PM Dung’s visit to Myanmar, stressing that it would help strengthen the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

Having informed each other of the political and socio-economic situation in their respective countries, both leaders expressed delight at positive progress in bilateral relations since PM’s Dung visit to Myanmar in August 2007 and PM Thein Sein’s trip to Vietnam three months later.

During the talks, the two prime ministers discussed a range of measures to further expand their friendly and cooperative relations in the years to come.

PM Dung told his host that the Vietnamese Government has decided to establish an association of Vietnamese investors in Myanmar, which comprises major, prestigious enterprises wishing to do business and invest in the country.

Regarding regional and international issues, the two leaders applauded the close coordination and cooperation between Vietnam and Myanmar within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as within cooperative frameworks such as Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV), the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) and other international forums.

PM Dung said Vietnam expects to receive coordination and support from Myanmar in a bid to successfully take on the ASEAN chairmanship in 2010, thereby realising the building of the ASEAN Community by 2015 for the sake of the bloc’s sustainable development as well as the benefit of each member nation.

Following the talks, the two prime ministers adopted a joint declaration on Vietnam-Myanmar cooperation and witnessed the signing of memoranda of understanding related to investment promotion, agriculture, aquaculture, banking and businesses deals of the military-run telecom company Viettel and the SIMCO Song Da Company.

They also witnessed the granting of a licence to the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam to open a representative office in Myanmar and another for the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines to open a direct air route linking Hanoi and Yangon.

On this occasion, the government of Vietnam presented gifts to its Myanmar counterpart and Vietnamese businesses donated gifts to local organisations./.