Russia and Vietnam Plan to Raise Strategic Partnership to New Height

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has held talks with his visiting Vietnamese counterpart Pham Gia Khiem in Moscow. They discussed bilateral relations and important international issues.

The talks revealed complete mutual understanding of all topics discussed. Russia and Vietnam hold similar views on ways of promoting security in Asia and the Pacific. Moscow appreciates Vietnam’s support in its push for deeper cooperation with the Association of South Asian Nations and within the framework of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Sergei Lavrov noted that cooperation should be carried out with respect for the interests of all countries of the region and not through any “closed blocs”.

The Vietnamese minister, for his part, said his government was closely watching the developments in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Vietnam sticks to a position that all international differences must be resolved peacefully in compliance with international norms and the UN Charter. Pham Gia Khiem condemned Georgia’s attack on Tskhinvali and presented his condolences in connection with numerous casualties among the South Ossetian population. He hailed Russia’s decisive response to the situation in South Ossetia.

The talks took place ahead of the Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet’s forthcoming visit to Russia, scheduled for next month. The October summit’s agenda will cover all aspects of bilateral cooperation, particularly in economics, culture and tourism. Moscow welcomed Vietnam’s decision to grant Russian tourists visa free entry. Both sides attach special importance to military-technical cooperation. The issue of the former Soviet military base in Kamran was not brought up during the Moscow talks. The base that used to ensure Russia’s naval presence the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf was shut in 2002.

The Moscow ministerial meeting reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to pursue the course for strategic partnership. Addressing journalists after the talks, Pham Gia Khiem said as follows:

"The Vietnamese government and people value their traditional friendship with Russia. We will never forget Russia’s help in our struggle against outside aggression and in our peaceful construction. We intend to further our strategic partnership, making it more and more efficient."

[Source: By Leonid Krichevsky, The Voice of Russia, Moscow, 17Sep08]

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