The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and the Vietnam-France Friendship Association (VFFA) held a ceremony in Hanoi on April 10 to mark the 40th anniversary of Vietnam–France diplomatic ties.

The event saw the presence of former Vice President Nguyen Thi Binh, VUFO’s Chairman Vu Xuan Hong, French Ambassador to Vietnam Jean Noel Poirier, among others.

VFFA Chairman Nguyen Huy Quang reviewed the history of the friendship and cooperation relations between the two countries over the four decades, adding that France is the first European country to extend support to Vietnam the 1990s when the country took the first steps to resume relations with the international community and started the cause of “doi moi” (renewal).

The relations between the two countries have been unceasingly broadened and developed in all fields, and become an example of relation between a leading developed country and a developing one, he said, noting that France is now the leading European partner of Vietnam with bilateral trade reaching 3.2 billion USD last year and 3.14 billion USD of French investment in Vietnam. The two countries are implementing a series of bilateral cooperation programmes in infrastructure, energy, transport and aviation, while French cultural centres have opened in many cities and provinces in Vietnam.

Quang also said the Vietnamese people are deeply moved at the French people’s support in publicising issues relating to the consequences of Agent Orange/dioxin on the people and environment in Vietnam and garnering international assistance in overcoming such consequences.

Ambassador Poirier said the France Year in Vietnam was officially kicked off on April 9 to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The programme comprises an array of events at all areas, extending until 2014 in both Vietnam and France, he said.

The VFFA Chairman and the French Ambassador shared their hope and belief that the friendly ties between the two countries will ever develop in the interest of the two peoples and for prosperity and peace in the region and the world.-VNA