Bilateral consultations between Italy and Vietnam were held this morning, with Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Manlio Di Stefano and Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister To Ang Dung representing the two countries. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry for Energy Transition, the Ministry of Health and the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA).
“Italy is keen to boost relations with Vietnam, one of the most important countries in South-East Asia and a key member of ASEAN” the Deputy Minister said at the opening. “Moreover, with an annual trade interexchange of about 4 billion euros, Vietnam represents our main partner in the Region, and Italy is among the top EU investors in Vietnam, with more than 100 businesses operating there.”
In addition to the priority theme of the post-Covid economic recovery, important dossiers were addressed, such as human rights, international adoptions, cooperation in the defence, space and technology sectors, tourism revitalisation, cooperation in the pharmaceutical and agri-food sectors, as well as collaboration on climate change and renewable energy, including participation in CoP26.
The theme of the development partnership between Italy and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), launched last year, and the regional scenario in Southeast Asia, with a special focus on the issue of the coup in Myanmar, also played a central role.
“Italy strongly condemns the coup in Myanmar last February and the violent repression of civil and political freedoms,” Mr. Di Stefano said. “Both Italy and the European Union are greatly concerned about the systematic violation of human rights and we encourage regional actors, primarily ASEAN, to play a leading role for achieving a positive solution. The ASEAN Summit held in Jakarta, on 24 April, is a positive development that has sparked hope for dialogue and peace in the country, but we believe that without democracy and human rights, Myanmar's path will not progress towards a long-term solution.”
At the end of the consultations, Deputy Minister Di Stefano and Deputy Minister Dung signed the 2021-2022 Action Plan, which sets out the contents of the strategic partnership between the two countries until 2023.