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Foreign community meets on Vietnamese traditional New Year

Ha Noi (VNA) - Representatives from the diplomatic corps, foreign non-governmental and international organisations gathered in Ha Noi on Jan. 31 for the up-coming Vietnamese traditional New Year festival.

The function was held by the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and the Committee for Non-governmental Organisations' Affairs.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan, on behalf of the Vietnamese Party, Government and people, praised the gracious effective assistance of foreign friends and affirmed that the Vietnamese Government would build on its solid achievements and make the most of international aid.

Sayed Al-Masri, Head representative of the diplomatic corps and international  organisations in Viet Nam, and Deepali Khanna, Head representative of Plan International in Viet Nam, expressed their beliefs that the Vietnamese people would make valuable contributions to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world in the new year, the year of the rooster, and the VUFO would have greater success in enhancing friendship and cooperation with foreign friends.

The same day, the Committee for Non-governmental Organisations' Affairs held a meeting with foreign NGOs in Viet Nam.

According to VUFO's statistics, about 560 foreign NGOs are operating in Viet Nam, which disbursed 140 million USD in 2004, up 40 percent over 2003 and a record so far. This is the result of the 2003 international conference on Viet Nam-NGO cooperation in Ha Noi.

NGOs-funded projects have been carried out in 64 cities and provinces nationwide, focusing on education, healthcare, economy, environmental protection, emergency aid and social problems. Noteworthy were projects on building houses for the poor, and assisting mine and Agent Orange victims, the handicapped, and HIV/AIDS carriers.

At the Donors'Consultative Meeting last December, NGOs for the first time pledged to provide Viet Nam 100 million USD in 2005.

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