Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh held talks with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Hanoi on April 16.

The two sides reviewed the bilateral relationship over the past time and discussed measures for more result-oriented cooperation, especially in economics-trade, science-technology, culture-education, humanity, local cooperation and coordination at regional and international arenas.

The ministers agreed that the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership has seen positive developments, bringing practical benefits to both sides.

Fine political relations based on mutual trust have been strengthened through the exchange of delegations at all levels, laying a foundation and creating a driving force for enhancing bilateral ties in other areas, they said.

Economic-trade cooperation between the two countries has maintained good growth in recent years, with two-way trade hitting 3.97 billion USD last year, an increase of 7 percent against 2012.

Russia backs Vietnam in negotiations for the signing of a Free Trade Agreement with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan so that the process can be finalised within this year.

Cooperation in energy and oil and gas has been also implemented effectively in both Vietnam and Russia, bringing stable and substantial earnings to the countries’ budgets.

The two sides highly valued the work of a high-level working group on priority investment projects between the two nations, including the Ninh Thuan 1 nuclear power plant, the expansion of the Dung Quat Oil Refinery, and oil and gas projects on Vietnamese and Russian territories.

In addition, connections in security-defence, culture, education-training, tourism and sports have seen fruitful results. The ministers concurred that the two countries should continue to speed up the establishment of the Vietnam-Russia University of Technology in Vietnam.

Regarding external relations, both sides noted that they share many similarities in almost all important regional and global issues. The two countries maintain close coordination and mutual support at international forums, especially the United Nations, contributing to protecting the national interests of each country as well as strengthening and consolidating their comprehensive strategic partnership.

Vietnam supports Russia’s engagement in Asia-Pacific forums. The two sides discussed bilateral collaboration in the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and agreed that Russia’s active participation in the Russia-ASEAN dialogue, including the implementation of the 2005-2015 comprehensive action plan, the ASEAN-Russia trade and investment cooperation roadmap, as well as other regional mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) will greatly contribute to consolidating security, peace and stability in the region and the world at large.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the two sides shared the view on the need to solve disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) while pushing for the building of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea.

Concluding the talks, Minh and Lavrov signed a cooperation plan between the two foreign ministries for the 2015-2016 period.

Later, at a joint press briefing, Deputy PM and FM Minh said the talks focused on measures to further bilateral cooperation, particularly in the fields of economics and trade for the interests of both countries.

He added that the two countries will mark the 65 th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2015, which according to him, is a hallmark in the history of their relations.

Lavrov, for his part, stresses that Russia appreciates Vietnam’s increasing role in Asia – Pacific, as well as its active role in the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) and other regional and international linkages. He suggested Vietnam continues to work as a bridge between Russia – ASEAN ties, and other regional mechanisms in which ASEAN plays a core role.

He said negotiations for the Vietnam – Customs Union FTA is making good progress, expressing hope that Vietnam will join the union soon.

The minister affirmed that Russia supports the organisation of activities to mark the 65 th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.

In the morning the same day, Lavrov laid a wreath at a memorial dedicated to heroic martyrs and paid tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum.-VNA