President receives outgoing Finnish, Greek ambassadors hinh anh 1President Tran Dai Quang (R) bids farewell to Finnish Ambassador Ilkka Pekka Simila (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – President Tran Dai Quang hosted separate receptions in Hanoi on July 13 for Finnish Ambassador Ilkka Pekka Simila and Greek Ambassador Nikos Kanellos who came to bid farewell to the State leader.

Meeting with Finnish Ambassador Simila, President Quang lauded the diplomat’s effective and positive contributions to strengthening the friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Finland over the past years.

Having expressed his delight at the sound partnership between the two countries in all fields, especially in politics-diplomacy, trade and development cooperation, he noted that Vietnam and Finland have maintained the exchange of delegations and meetings at all levels and supported each other at regional and international forums. Two-way trade was nearly 330 million USD in 2016 and 185 million USD in the first five months of 2017.

The State leader thanked the Finnish Government for its provision of ODA for Vietnam over the past years, adding that Finnish-funded projects have been carried out effectively, especially in poverty reduction, clean water supply, rural development, forestry management and innovation, thus contributing greatly to Vietnam’s socio-economic development and international integration.

As Vietnam-Finland relations have shifted from development cooperation to win-win partnership, the two countries have expanded cooperative ties to different areas, especially education-training and science-technology, he said.

The President highly evaluated the effectiveness of the Vietnam-Finland Innovation Partnership Programme in the second phase, and the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Science and Technology and Finland’s TEKES Foundation in March 2016 that aims to support joint projects, technology transfer and commercialization of research results between businesses and research institutes of the two nations.

He also applauded Finland’s initiative to set up a bilateral strategic partnership in education, renovation, information and communication technology, water management, forestry and clean technology, saying that that the idea is feasible.

For his part, Ambassador Simila said Vietnam and Finland still hold potentials for stronger cooperation, adding that the upcoming visit to Finland by Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh in October this year will be a good chance for the two sides to enhance their cooperative ties in promising areas, especially economy, trade, education and technology.

At the reception for Greek Ambassador Kanellos, President Quang expressed his pleasure at the fine development of friendship and cooperative relations between the two countries, and appreciated the diplomat’s contributions to bilateral ties.

He affirmed that Vietnam attaches great importance to developing friendship and all-round partnership with Greece.

Noting that Vietnam and Greece have supported each other at multilateral forums and international organisations, President Quang proposed the two sides continue coordinate closely at the UN and ASEAN-EU and ASEM mechanisms.

Having thanked Greece for its backing Vietnam in developing relations with the European Union (EU) and the Greek parliament’s ratification of the Vietnam-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), the President proposed Greece supports the early signing and approval of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, which he believes that will open up new cooperation prospects between Vietnam and the EU as well as between Vietnam and Greece.

He suggested that the two sides continue boosting cooperation in maritime economy, shipping, shipbuilding, agriculture and tourism.

Vietnam will create optimal conditions for businesses of both sides to expand their partnership, initially speeding up the signing of a double tax avoidance agreement and a shipping agreement, he said.

For his part, Ambassador Kanellos affirmed that Greece will work harder to promote relations between the EU and Vietnam.

He praised Vietnam’s achievements in national development and construction, and promised to continue contributing to the enhancement of relations between Greece and Vietnam.-VNA