Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh thanked the Swiss Government for its ODA provision to Vietnam while holding talks with Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Didier Burkhalter in Hanoi on June 2.

The aid has been useful for Vietnam’s poverty alleviation, human resources training, and urban and rural development initiatives, Minh stated.

Both expressed their delight at the positive developments in bilateral friendship and cooperation, particularly in politics-diplomacy, trade, investment, and education and training.

The Swiss foreign affairs chief confirmed that his government wishes to boost effective collaboration with Vietnam – an active and important member of the ASEAN, reflected through the opening of its Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.

Both agreed to intensify delegation exchanges at all levels, continue implementing existing political dialogue mechanisms and coordinate to organise celebrations of the 45 th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2016.

They pledged to create favourable conditions for the two countries’ businesses and investors to foster connections in finance, banking, insurance, high technology, agriculture and tourism while speeding up work on a protocol amending the bilateral air transport agreement.

The ministers also reached consensus on boosting negotiations on a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in order to create a framework to expand bilateral trade and investment cooperation in the time ahead.

They committed to maintaining close coordination and support at multilateral mechanisms like the United Nations, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Vietnam welcomes Switzerland’s efforts to strengthen its ties with the ASEAN and hopes the two sides will implement specific cooperation activities to support the establishment of a partnership between Switzerland and the bloc in the time to come, the host stated.

Regarding the East Sea, both shared concerns over recent developments in the sea, stressing the need to ensure peace and stability while maintaining maritime and aviation security, safety and freedom in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration of Parties on the Conduct in the East Sea.

They met with the press after their talks.

The Swiss official then travelled to Ho Chi Minh City to attend the inaugural ceremony of the Swiss Consulate General there.-VNA