Slovenia and Croatia want to boost multi-faceted cooperation with Vietnam and serve as important gateways for the Southeast Asian nation’s goods to earn wider presence in the European market, especially the Balkan region.

The two countries’ representatives have expressed the wish during political consultations with the Vietnamese side, represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, from July 7-9.

Officials from Slovenia and Croatia voiced their support for the EU’s early approval of its comprehensive cooperation and partnership agreement with Vietnam as well as the completion of bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations by the yearend.

Both countries highlighted Vietnam’s increasing role in Southeast Asia while Slovenia agreed to work with the country in strengthening the Mekong-Danube sub-regional cooperation and water management.

The European countries highly valued huge potential for bilateral cooperation with Vietnam in trade, agriculture, shipbuilding, sea transportation and ports, healthcare, defence, education, tourism and bomb and mine clearance within the framework of the United Nations and the European Union.

The trio consented to creating all favourable conditions for businesses to seek partners and expand markets.

Vietnam and Croatia sought to step up talks for an agreement on double taxation avoidance. The Vietnamese side had working sessions with the Brodarski maritime design institute and the DOK-ING mine clearance company.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the European countries expressed their deep concern over the current tension in the East Sea triggered by China’s illegal placement of its oil rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in early May.

They spoke highly of Vietnam’s utmost restraint and advocated the EU’s stance on settling the disputes by peaceful means and in line with international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

During the working visit, Deputy Minister Son granted an interview to “Dnevnik”, the largest daily newspaper in Slovenia, on Vietnam-Slovenia relations and the latest developments in the East Sea.-VNA