I warmly welcome His Excellency Mr Le Luong Minh, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and his delegation to OR Tambo Building, which is the Head Quarters of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa.
My colleague and I co-chaired the second meeting of the South Africa-Vietnam Partnership Forum today. The meeting took place within the ambit of the bilateral Agreement concerning the Establishment of an Inter-Governmental Partnership Forum for Economic, Trade, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Co-operation, which was concluded between our two countries in 2004.
The main objectives of the meeting were the following:
The bond of friendship between our two countries and peoples is strong and has deep roots. South Africa attaches considerable importance to its relationship with Vietnam and regards Vietnam as a staunch friend and ally.
Structured bilateral meetings are important to ensure that partner countries regularly review the scope of their relationship and identify new areas of cooperation. For this reason, the meeting of the Partnership Forum played an important part in further strengthening and deepening the bilateral relationship between South Africa and Vietnam.
Our senior officials met yesterday to discuss areas of mutual interest and cooperation at the technical level and to prepare Action Plans for future joint action. Today, the senior officials reported back to my colleague and myself on the work that was done and the progress achieved in the following areas:
I now invite Deputy Minister Le Luong Minh to address the media.