Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at talks with his visiting Serbian counterpart Ivan Mrkic in Hanoi on March 1 affirmed that Vietnam always attaches importance to consolidating and developing the friendship and cooperation with international friends, including Serbia.

Minh described Mrkic’s visit from February 27 to March 2 as an important milestone in the two countries’ growing traditional relations.

He expressed his delight at Serbian people’s achievements during the country’s construction and development as well as its regional and international integration.

Mrkic said that the celebration of their 55 th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2012 created a new momentum for Vietnam and Serbia’s developing relationship.

He spoke highly of great achievements Vietnam has made during its renewal process, affirming that Serbia hopes to expand and further intensify its traditional friendship with Vietnam.

The Serbian top diplomat said that there is much potential for Vietnam-Serbia economic and trade ties to grow, and asked the two sides to closely coordinate in fostering bilateral direct trade.

Both sides said they are pleased with the fine development of the Vietnam-Serbia political ties and the regular exchanges of all-level delegations, and affirmed that the two countries will continue to increase meetings of their leaders, even at international forums.

The two ministers highly valued the official signings of an agreement on double taxation avoidance and an arrangement on mutual recognition of market economy status within the framework of Mrkic’s visit.

The two documents will create a legal basis to promote bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation, they added.

Both host and guest agreed to soon complete negotiations to sign an agreement on economic cooperation and another on investment encouragement and protection.

At the talks, the two sides also exchanged views on measures to intensify cultural exchange, foster people exchanges and develop tourism between Vietnam and Serbia.

The two FMs appreciated the initial results of the student exchange programme between the two nations, and affirmed their willingness to negotiate and sign an agreement on educational cooperation and the increase of student and postgraduate exchanges.

They also exchanged opinions on regional and international issues of mutual concern and highly valued the effective cooperation between the two countries at international forums over the past time, especially within the framework of the United Nations and the Non-aligned Movement.-VNA