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Joint Statements of Foreign Minister N. Kotzias and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh following their meeting in Hanoi (13 February 2017)
PHAM BINH MINH: Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias, dear members of the press, first of all I would like to warmly welcome the visit to Vietnam by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.
We have concluded, as you know, a very constructive dialogue in a friendly atmosphere and a very candid and open manner, where we talked about the issues of bilateral frameworks, and also the regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Vietnam and Greece have shared forty years of diplomatic relations. We established diplomatic relations in 1975 and we have seen very positive growth in our bilateral cooperation ever since. And we would like to especially thank the people of Greece for extending to us precious support in our past struggle for national independence and sovereignty, and also for today’s development of the nation.
Vietnam and Greece’s bilateral ties have been flourishing in all areas, and a good testament to that is the exchange of visits between the two countries, including the visit to Greece by former President Nguyen Minh Triet and a visit to Vietnam by the President of Greece.
I highly appreciate the visit to Vietnam by Nikos Kotzias, and this is a very good opportunity for us to reflect on the progress that we have made so far and to chart out the future direction for our bilateral cooperation.
We believe that we should further step up the exchange of visits between the two countries and step up the dialogue mechanisms, including the dialogue between the two foreign ministries, in order to implement the agreements between both sides, including the recently signed MoU.
We have agreed to further intensify the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. We noted that bilateral trade has been tripled from the level of 2010. However, it remains modest, and we need to do much further to improve the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, especially in the area of maritime economy, where both Vietnam and Greece have great interest.
With that we also agreed to step up negotiations for signing the double-taxation agreement and other agreements pertaining to the maritime economy.
And we have also agreed to further promote cooperation at the multilateral forums, including the United Nations, ASEAN-EU and ASEM, and as an active and responsible member of ASEAN, Vietnam stands ready to be the door to further promoting and facilitating cooperation between Greece and this association, as well as promoting relations with the EU and between the EU and ASEAN.
The outcome of these talks today between me and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will be very much conducive to elevating the outcomes of the bilateral cooperation and friendship between our two countries.
NIKOS KOTZIAS: Thank you Mr. Minh. Hello, Vietnam. I would like to thank you for your hospitality and the discussion we have had today.
We are respecting Vietnam and its brave history. For me it is a life dream to be here.
We grew up as schoolboys and students expressing our solidarity with the Vietnamese people.
So I am very happy being the first Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs to visit Vietnam.
And we have now the 40th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, and the 10th anniversary of opening our embassy here in Hanoi.
Well, as Vietnam is synonymous with national resistance and human dignity, it expresses the highest values of humanity, the protection of human life and of national sovereignty.
We have high respect for Vietnamese people fighting for the rights of their society, their nation.
That’s the reason we are preparing ourselves to promote the cooperation between Vietnam and Greece, in all the fields we can do it, from business and shipping to European Union. We can be the door of Vietnam to the European Union.
We have discussed cooperation between our business people, maritime cooperation, cooperation in the sectors of tourism, culture, research and between universities.
We have examined existing problems and we have discussed the way we can implement solutions. We have even discussed giving two scholarships for studies in Greece.
We will do everything we can to strengthen our friendship and the relations of our nations.
Thank you very much, again, for your warm welcome.