Vietnam and Luxembourg have agreed to continue taking steps to deepen bilateral ties, especially in finance and banking, insurance, heavy industry, tourism and transport services.

A consensus was reached during talks between Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn and Vietnam’s visiting Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, on June 26.

During their talks, Jean Asselborn spoke high of Minh’s visit, the first by a Vietnamese Foreign Minister since 1994, saying that it marks a new phase in Vietnam and Luxembourg’s relationship, especially as the two countries are preparing to celebrate their 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2013.

Minister Minh said he is delighted to visit Luxembourg, the first European country he has set foot in since he took office. He stated that his visit reflects Vietnam’s appreciation and determination to strengthen its friendship and multi-faceted cooperation with Luxembourg .

Both host and guest expressed pleasure with the developments in their friendship and joint initiatives between the two countries in the past, particularly in politics and diplomacy, economics and development cooperation.

They agreed to boost cooperation in science and technology, the environment and sustainable development, health, information and communications and cultural exchanges.

They applauded the outcomes of several joint development projects and agreed to get the remaining projects, agreed under the Vietnam-Luxembourg Orientation Cooperation Programme from 2011-2015, up and running as soon as possible. They mainly focus on health, vocational training and rural development in areas with socio-economic difficulties.

Regarding cooperation between the two Foreign Ministries, Minh suggested that the Foreign Ministry of Luxembourg encourages universities, research centres and institutes to exchange researchers and students with their Vietnamese partners as well as support Vietnam in French language training, international relations and drawing up new legislation.

They also agreed to discuss visa exemptions for the holders of diplomatic passports and that Vietnam and Luxembourg will continue to work closely at international forums and organisations.

Minh stressed that Vietnam will help Luxembourg to broaden its ties with ASEAN while Jean Asselborn said Luxembourg will assist Vietnam to develop its relationship with the EU and back the Southeast Asian country’s bid to secure EU recognition as a market economy.

Deputy PM Jean Asselborn praised Vietnam’s increasing role in the region and its taking over the role as coordinator of ASEAN-EU relations from July 2012.

Later the same day, Minister Minh met with Luxembourg’s Minister of Development Cooperation, Marie-Josee Jacops, to discuss implementing Luxembourg’s ODA projects in Vietnam and ways of boosting bilateral ties in this field.-VNA