Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son proposed Switzerland continue to assist Vietnam in getting access to COVID-19 vaccine supplies, treatment medicines and necessary medical equipment during his talks with Swiss Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis in Hanoi on August 8.
Welcoming the guest to Vietnam, Son said the visit, which is taking place from August 4-6 in celebration of the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries, will contribute to promoting the bilateral relations.
He thanked the Swiss Government for continuing to prioritise the provision of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for Vietnam in the future, focusing mainly on environmental protection and economic reform.
The two sides agreed to increase the exchange of high-level delegations and meetings, and those between ministries, sectors and localities.
They committed to creating a favourable environment for enterprises of the two countries to expand investment and business in each other's markets, and share efforts to soon conclude the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in order to create strong impetus for bilateral trade and investment exchanges.
On behalf of the Vietnamese Government, Son thanked the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs for donating 500,000 quick COVID-19 test kits, 300,000 antibacterial masks and 30 oxygen machines with a total value of about 117 billion VND (5.1 million USD) to Vietnam.
Cassis expressed his belief that Vietnam will soon recover from the pandemic and agreed that the two countries need to continue to share experiences in COVID-19 prevention and control as well as roadmap of opening up and recovering the economy, and strengthen bilateral cooperation in healthcare, especially the technology transfer of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment drugs.
Also at the talks, the two officials agreed to continue cooperation and strengthen mutual support at multilateral forums and international organisations, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations.
The Swiss official affirmed his support for ASEAN's central role in regional structures. He also congratulated Vietnam on successfully assuming its role as Chair of ASEAN in 2020 and thanked the nation for acting as a bridge to bolster the Switzerland - ASEAN partnership.
The two ministers emphasised the importance of complying with international law, ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight, security and peace in the East Sea, in which the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the legal framework governing all activities at seas and oceans.
Son thanked and proposed the Swiss Government continue to create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in Switzerland to integrate well, contribute positively to Switzerland's development and strengthening the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.