Vietnam undertakes Chairmanship of ASEAN Committee in Bern hinh anh 1Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland Le Linh Lan at a meeting in Bern on July 2 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland Le Linh Lan assumed the Chairmanship of the ASEAN Committee in Bern (ACB) during an online meeting in Bern on July 2, the first of the committee since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Switzerland on February 25.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Lan presented scheduled activities during Vietnam’s tenure as ACB Chair for the second half of this year, and wished to receive further support from the committee members in the time ahead amid the pandemic.

The Malaysian Ambassador presented a report on ACB’s activities under Malaysia’s chairmanship in the first half of this year in the context of the pandemic hindering the implementation of initial plans, saying that the committee worked to maintain several activities during the pandemic, including holding virtual meetings of the working group and the committee in May.

Ambassadors of ASEAN member states shared information about Switzerland and countries’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as efforts to push for the establishment of the ASEAN – Swiss Parliamentary Friendship Group at the Federal Parliament during the 2019-2023 tenure.

They thanked Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis for his letter to the ACB, in which the minister called for international cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 and economic recovery.

Cassis expressed Switzerland’s appreciation for its partnership with ASEAN and its member countries, especially in its capacity as Sectoral Dialogue Partner of ASEAN.

Ambassador Lan took the occasion to report about Vietnam’s efforts to curb the pandemic, highlighting the Vietnamese Government’s determination and drastic measures in epidemic prevention and control. She said Vietnam has maintained dialogues with nations via teleconferences and presented medical supplies and face masks to ASEAN and international friends, as well as successfully held the online Special ASEAN Summit and ASEAN 3 Summit.

The diplomat noted that as ASEAN Chair in 2020, Vietnam has worked to promote ASEAN’s drastic and timely measures in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, such as establishing the ASEAN Fund for COVID-19 Response and the regional emergency medical supplies warehouse, building a process to combat the pandemic, and embarking on socio-economic recovery plans.

She stressed that the 36th ASEAN Summit, the first of its kind held online under the chair of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, has highlighted the spirit of solidarity, cooperation, economic integration, while reaffirming the importance of maintaining an open, transparent and rules-based region with ASEAN playing a central role.

On regional and global issues, the event spotlighted the significance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea. It called for strengthening trust building, exercising self-restraint and preventing actions that could complicate the issue and settling disputes in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)./.