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HANOI, April 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, who arrived here on Tuesday for an official visit, is to hold a series of meetings and talks on Wednesday with the leadership of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV). The emphasis will be on a further advancement of comprehensive strategic partnership between Russia and Vietnam.
The programme for the visit provides for Lavrov's meetings with the SRV's President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and for talks with Pham Binh Minh, Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister. As a result of the consultations, the Ministers willl sign a Plan for cooperation between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries for the 2015-2016 period.
The relations of traditional friendship and all-round cooperation between the SRV and the Russian Federation continuously grow stronger and develop successfully in all fields, the SRV's Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh told Itar-Tass in an exclusive interview in connection with the Russian Foreign Minister's visit. Political contacts between Hanoi and Moscow constantly get stronger. They are notable for a high degree of reliability and mutual trust. "The high level of trust in bilateral relations serves as a basis for their development, primarily in such key areas as trade and investments, energy, defence and security," the Minister pointed out.
Touching upon partnership in the foreign policy arena, the Head of the SRV's Foreign Ministry emphasized that Hanoi and Moscow share a common point of view on key issues of international and regional policies. The two countries closely interact and support each other in international affairs, particularly within the UN framework and at the platforms of key forums such as the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and at the summits of the East Asian Community (EAC).
Vietnam highly appreciates and supports all initiatives being proposed by Russia with a view to enhancing security and developing cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR), the Minister said.
Russia's Foreign Ministry officials pointed, "Years-long traditional friendship and mutual assistance constitute foundation of Russian-Vietnamese relations. They are notable for a high level of mutual trust and dynamic development".
"Russia and Vietnam adhere to identical or close positions on matters of current importance concerning global and reginal agendas," the Ministry officials emphasized. "The two countries conduct a regular dialogue at summit and high levels, and maintian close contacts between minstries and agencies, economic entities and public organizations. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs play a coordinating role in strengthening bilateral interaction".
Despite the no-easy economic situation in the world, trade-and-economic contacts between Vietnam and Russia continue to develop dynamically. Bilateral goods turnover as a result of 2013 ran at $4 billion, growing by 7 percent as compared with that in the previous year. Direct investments amounted to $2 billion from each side.
A further advancement of bilateral trade-and-economic relations will promote the conclusion of a Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement between Vietnam and Russia and the Customs Union consisting of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. "Five rounds of negotiation have been already held to draw up an FTA Agreement. It is expected that the negotiating process will be completed towards the end of this year and that the agreement will be signed early next year," Pham Binh Minh said.
Among priorities in interaction in the coming period the Vietnamese side mentions cooperation in the field of energy. Such companies of Russia as Zarubezhneft, Gazprom, Rosneft, as well as joint-venture enterprises established by them together with Vietnamese partners the VietSovPetro, RusVietPero, and GazpromViet - effectively operate on the markets of both states. At the same time they continue to interact closely in bringing into being the SRV's first nuclear power station (NPS) Ninhthuang-1. The State Atomic Power Corporation is Vietnam's partner in implementing the project.
"The project for building Vietnam's first NPS with Russia's participation is of paramount importance in ensuring the SRV's energy security and will become a vivid symbol of cooprrayion between our two countries," Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh stressed.