President calls on Austria to prioritize ODA loan for Vietnam

By VNA   July 24, 2023 | 04:46 pm PT
President calls on Austria to prioritize ODA loan for Vietnam
Vietnam State President Vo Van Thuong (L) and Austrian President Van der Bellen hold hands at a press conference after their talks in Vienna on July 24, 2023. Photo by VNA
Vietnam's President Vo Van Thuong suggested Austria have a more favorable lending policy and prioritize Vietnam in its official development assistance (ODA) funding when holding talks with his counterpart Van der Bellen.

Thuong and his Austrian counterpart discussed measures to deepen the bilateral friendship and multifaceted cooperation during their talks in Vienna on Monday, taking place right after the official welcome ceremony for the Vietnamese guests.

Thuong proposed Austria put Vietnam in its priority list to receive official development assistance (ODA) funding and issue more favorable loan policies, particularly for projects in health care, environment protection, vocational training, firefighting, and rescue operations.

The Austrian president warmly welcomed the ongoing discussions about preferential loans from the Austrian Government and hoped that sustainable cooperation projects could be implemented soon.

Van der Bellen affirmed that Austria values the long-standing friendship and multifaceted cooperation with Vietnam, which was established in 1972.

Austria considers Vietnam an important partner in its foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific, especially in trade and investment, he said, adding that the country wishes to further enhance bilateral relations in the fields of economy, education and culture.

Thuong asserted that Vietnam always wishes to foster the friendship and all-around collaboration with Austria, its reliable friend in the European Union.

In order to increase political trust and tap into the immense cooperation potential of the two countries, the leaders agreed to facilitate the exchange of delegations at all levels and across various channels.

They will effectively implement existing cooperation mechanisms and also study the establishment of new cooperation mechanisms that are suitable for the new context.

President Thuong proposed that both sides continue working closely together and effectively utilize the benefits of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), including facilitating access to each other's markets for their respective strong export items.

Austria was asked to create favorable conditions for its firms to increase investments in Vietnam, particularly in industries such as automobile support industries, railway, medical equipment, and pharmaceuticals.

Describing Vietnam as Austria's biggest partner in Southeast Asia, the Austrian President hoped that both sides will be interested in improving the bilateral trade balance.

Thuong also suggested Austria back the European Commission's removal of yellow card warning against Vietnam's aquatic products, thus enabling Vietnam to export them to the EU.

The two sides vowed to step up cooperation in education-training, culture-arts, and sports, and people-to-people exchange. The host agreed with the guest's proposal to continue supporting the Vietnamese community in Austria, who serve as a bridge for bilateral friendship.

On the global and regional issues of shared concern, Thuong spoke highly of Austria's interest in enhancing relations with the Southeast Asian region.

Vietnam is ready to act as a bridge to help Austria strengthen its ties with ASEAN, he said, suggesting that Austria could play a bridging role to help enhance Vietnam's relations with the EU.

Both leaders promised to continue close coordination at global and regional forums, particularly within the framework of ASEAN-EU cooperation, for the sake of peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

On the East Sea issue, they reaffirmed the importance of peace, stability, safety, security and freedom of navigation in the waterway. They also expressed support for international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The Vietnamese leader extended an invitation to the Austrian President and his spouse to visit Vietnam soon. The host accepted the invitation with pleasure.

Following the talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the Vietnamese and Austrian foreign ministries.

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