Saturday, March 7, 2009


Vietnam wants to increase its economic, trade and investment cooperation with Sri Lanka, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung while receiving Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama in Hanoi yesterday.

Mr Dung welcomed the result of talks between Minister Bogollagama and Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem the day earlier and expressed his belief that the diplomat’s visit will help strengthen ties between Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

He noted that two-way trade between Vietnam and Sri Lanka has increased considerably in recent years, reaching US$61 million in 2008, up 14 percent against 2007. However, he said that bilateral economic and investment ties have not matched their full potential.

He proposed that both countries convene their inter-governmental committee as soon as possible, sign an agreement on investment protection, and increase the exchange of visits to promote bilateral cooperation in various areas.

The Prime Minister lauded Sri Lanka’s socio-economic development achievements, saying the country has achieved a relatively high economic growth rate in recent times, and its average GDP per capita is among the highest in South Asia.

He voiced his support for Sri Lanka’s efforts to maintain stability, fight terrorism and restore social order and security for national construction. He also hoped that Sri Lanka will help Vietnam increase its economic, trade and investment links with other countries in South Asia.

For his part, Mr. Bogollagama said that during his talks with Mr Khiem in Hanoi on March 5, they agreed that both countries need to expand bilateral cooperation to other areas such as agriculture, education and training, culture, sports and tourism alongside the existing economic and trade ties.

They also agreed to work closer together at regional and international forums such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the United Nations.

The diplomat also praised Vietnam’s position in the world’s arena, particularly after the country successfully held the presidency of the United Nations Security Council last July.

“Sri Lanka wants to strengthen the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation with Vietnam further,” said Mr. Bogollagama.

He said he hopes to receive Mr Dung during his forthcoming visit to Sri Lanka.