President Tran Dai Quang will pay State-level visits to Ethiopia and Egypt from August 23 to 29. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The upcoming State-level visits to Ethiopia and Egypt from August 23 to 29 by President Tran Dai Quang and his spouse are expected to enhance the traditional friendship between Vietnam and the two African countries.

The trips are made at the invitation of Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Vietnam and Ethiopia established diplomatic ties on March 23, 1976. The bilateral long-standing relations have been growing at a steady rate. 

Ethiopia supported Vietnam’s candidacy for the UNESCO Executive Council (2015-2019) and United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (2016-2018).

In April 2014, Ethiopia recognised Vietnam’s market economy status.

Recently, Ethiopia affirmed its support for Vietnam’s bid to run for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.

The two sides have inked a framework agreement on cooperation in culture and another on collaboration in economy and science-technology, as well as a cooperation deal between the Vietnamese and Ethiopian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Bilateral trade hit 11.3 million USD in 2017, of which Vietnam exported 2.2 million USD worth of goods, mainly garment-textiles, footwear, and chemical products.

Telecom group Viettel plans to expand the investment and trade of telecom equipment to Ethiopia. It set up a representative office in Addis Ababa in August 2016.

The visit to Ethiopia by President Quang is expected to create a historical milestone in bilateral relations as well as open up investment and trade cooperation prospects in the years to come.

Vietnam and Egypt have a traditional friendship and cooperation relationship. Egypt is one of the first Arab countries to have relations with Vietnam. From 1958, Vietnam established a trade representative office in Egypt. Then, on September 1, 1963, Vietnam and Egypt officially set up diplomatic ties. The same year, Vietnam opened its embassy in Cairo. One year later in 1964, Egypt opened its embassy in Hanoi.

The two countries have regularly coordinated and supported each other at international forums as well as shared viewpoints on numerous issues of mutual concern at the United Nations.

In May 2015, Vietnam and Egypt held the eighth political consultation at the deputy foreign ministerial level in Cairo. In September 2016, Egypt joined the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

The two nations have also regularly exchanged information and cooperation through the Party and local channels in the fields of inspection and culture, while also setting up the Vietnam-Egypt Friendship Parliamentary Group.

Economically, Egypt is the fifth largest trade partner of Vietnam in Africa. Two-way trade reached about 350 million USD in 2017. Vietnam mainly exported aquatic products, automobile spare parts, fabric, black pepper, coffee, rubber, and consumer goods.

Egypt was the first north African country to recognise Vietnam’s market economy in November 2013. It has three registered investment projects in Vietnam worth 2.05 million USD.

Each year, Egypt provides 12 Arab language training scholarships for Vietnamese students. On the occasion of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s visit to Vietnam in September 2017, Egypt pledged to provide technical assistance and training for 10-20 officials on Halal standards for goods exported to the Muslim market.

In recent years, Vietnam and Egypt have signed some agreements on trade, economic and technological cooperation, investment protection, aviation, inspection collaboration, visa exemption for diplomatic special and official passport holders, and cooperation protocol between the two foreign ministries.

They also signed cooperation deals in tourism, exploration and exploitation of oil and gas, organising trade fairs and exhibitions, and developing micro and small enterprises.

The two sides established a joint business council and prompted investment cooperation between Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment and Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation.

The upcoming visits to Ethiopia and Egypt also affirm that Vietnam persistently pursues its foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation, and diversification of international relations.

Vietnam always attaches great importance to enhancing traditional friendship with African countries in general, and Ethiopia and Egypt in particular.

The visits also creates a chance for countries to exchange measures to further develop their cooperation in economy, trade, investment, as well as seek cooperation opportunities in their fields of their strength such as agriculture, culture, and tourism. –VNA