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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

17.04.2014

Article by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, “Time-honoured friendship and partnership” published in the daily “Thezoy va Vietnam” (“Peace and Vietnam”) on 16 April 2014

In January 2015 Russia and Vietnam will celebrate a remarkable date – 65 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Large-scale and profound changes have taken place in our states and in the world in the past decades. However, traditions of Russian-Vietnamese friendship, trust and mutual aid remain unchanged.

The dynamic development of the entire set of bilateral relations has allowed them to be transformed into a comprehensive strategic partnership. Russia and Vietnam sincerely appreciate the achieved level of interaction. We have achieved significant advances in the development of our cooperation in different areas: from trade and investments to defence and security, science, education and culture. It will not be an exaggeration to say that there are almost no areas, where our countries would not set up close ties.

A trustworthy dialogue at summit level will provide the necessary impetus for the comprehensive extension of our bilateral cooperation. In July 2012 the President of the SRV, Truong Tan Sang, visited Russia. In November 2013, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, made a visit to Vietnam. The joint statement as a result of this visit contains agreements on further reinforcement of our partner ties in traditional and perspective areas. The check-list of priority tasks to further advance the Russian-Vietnamese comprehensive strategic partnership, which has been adopted every year since 2007, is an irreplaceable helping hand in their implementation. We have such a cooperation mechanism with only a few our partners.

Regular contacts are maintained at the level of heads of state of Russia and Vietnam. Inter-parliamentary ties are actively developed.

The interaction between foreign policy agencies of our countries has reached a new high. The plan of the cooperation of foreign ministries, signed during the visit of the SRV’s Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minhin July 2012, is an important support for strengthening of its relationship.

Despite the unfavourable atmosphere in the world economics, reciprocal turnover of goods is stably growing and reached 3.97 billion US dollars last year, which is 8.5% more than in 2012. This is another step in the implementation of the task to increase volumes of bilateral trade to 7 billion US dollars by 2015 and to 10 billion US dollars by 2020, as set out by the leaders of Russia and Vietnam.

Additionally, it should be acknowledged that indicators of Russian-Vietnamese trade do not match the available potential. The conclusion is evident – a brand-new trade and investment environment, which corresponds to the task of strengthening global and regional integration processes should be created. The free trade agreement (FTA) between member states of the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan) and Vietnam, on which we are actively working, is expected to become a strong stimulus for the build-up of trade with goods and services. High-level work groups on priority investment projects, which are oriented towards the resolution of primary tasks of social and economic development of our states, is active with regard to the FTA, which is being developed. I am convinced that Vietnam will keep assisting Russian companies working in the SRV. Vietnamese investors in Russia may count on the same approach from us.

Historically, the oil and gas industry is playing the leading role in the multifaceted economic cooperation. Its flagship, joint venture “Vietsovpetro”, is widely known in Vietnam and beyond it. The leading Russian companies Gazprom and Rosneft are working on the continental shelf in the SRV. Our goal is not just to increase physical volumes of extraction of hydrocarbons, but to diversify cooperation at the account of supplies from Russia of liquefied gas and oil, organisation of production of gas engine fuel, involvement of Russian companies in the extension and modernisation of Vietnamese oil refineries. Guided by the principle of equal partnership, we support oil and gas extraction projects in the territory of the Russian Federation with participation of the Petrovietnam Corporation for oil and gas.

The joint implementation of the project of construction of the first Vietnamese nuclear power plant in the Ninh Thuan Province opened a new chapter in our relations. At the same time, a Centre of Nuclear Science and Technologies in Vietnam is being created in Vietnam. I would like to point out that these sites will comply with the most strict international security requirements.

It is hard to overestimate the significance of highly qualified staff for successful social and economic development of any country. Based on this, we intend to build up the scale of preparation of specialists for Vietnam funded from the Russian budget and based on contracts. The project of the Vietnamese-Russian Technology University, which is under development, will contribute to the familiarisation of the Vietnamese youth to the high standards of education in Russia.

It is good that they still love culture of Russian people in Vietnam. The big success of the Russian Culture Days in the SRV last November is a vivid confirmation of this. In turn, the original and rich Vietnamese culture also arouses interest in Russian nationals. Many of them wish to take a closer look at your beautiful country. The growing flow of tourists from Russia is a clear evidence of this: almost 300 thousand Russians visited Vietnam last year.

We consistently support further extension of contacts between nationals of the two countries. Against this background, we note the positive role of the Vietnamese diaspora in the Russian Federation. We will keep ensuring favourable conditions for Vietnamese nationals living and working in Russia. At the same time, we need to consistently resolve the problem of illegal migration – the law of our countries should be strictly observed. Competent Russian and Vietnamese bodies undertake respective steps taking into consideration special relations between our people. We believe that our joint task is to prevent occurrence of any problems in the migration area and to take timely measures for their resolution.

Next year we will jointly celebrate several memorable dates. They include 70 years to mark the Victory over fascism, 40 years since the liberation of the south of Vietnam and reconnection of the country. The more distant in time these events become, the more careful we should be to keep memories of them alive, in order to confront any attempts to distort the historical truth.

Close interaction on the international stage is the most important components of the Russian-Vietnamese comprehensive strategic partnership. The positions of our countries is very close, to one another, on the issues of the formation of a fair and democratic polycentric world order, based on the fundamental principles of international law, the central and coordinating role of the UN, the respect for identity of people and the commitment to the collective search for answers to global challenges and threats. Russia and Vietnam closely coordinate their foreign policy approaches both in the bilateral format and within the framework of international and regional forums and organisations.

The activation of multifaceted ties with states of the Asia-Pacific region, which are becoming more significant in the world economy and politics, are an important priority in Russia’s international activities. Stability in this region is a necessary condition for the development of cooperation. Therefore, it is essential to create secure mechanisms of ensuring equal and undivided security based on non-aligned approaches in the APR. In particular, it is envisaged the initiative to launch the work on the framework of principles for the new regional architecture, which was approved within the framework of the East Asia Summit in Brunei in October 2013, will contribute to this. We expect to take the joint work forward with our Vietnamese friends.

Russia and Vietnam face new, more complicated tasks in the modern age. We should keep up with the times, following the covenants of our predecessors. Only in this way will our countries be able to ensure their well-being, welfare and secure position in today’s competitive markets. I am convinced that we are able to jointly resolve these tasks based on the time-honoured traditions of Russian-Vietnamese friendship and partnership.




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