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Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia visits Vietnam

(VNA): A State ceremony was held at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on May 18 to welcome Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who began an official friendship visit to Vietnam as a guest of Prime Minister Phan Van Khai.

After the welcoming ceremony, Prime Minister Khai held talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Khaleda Zia and witnessed the signing of a bilateral investment encouragement and protection agreement.

The two PMs shared the view that the signing of the agreement would speed up the investment in each country by the other.

Prime Minister Khai warmly welcomed Zia, saying her visit to Viet Nam was the first made by a head of the Bangladeshi Government since the two countries established diplomatic ties 32 years ago. He said the visit ushered in a new era in the two countries' relationship.

After lauding the great achievements recorded by the Bangladeshi people in national construction, especially the fruits of their economic reform and poverty reduction programme in recent years, the host affirmed that Viet Nam will always do its utmost to further develop long-standing and multifaceted relations with Bangladesh.

The Bangladeshi PM, who arrived here on May 17 for a three-day visit, expressed her delight at being the first Bangladeshi high-ranking leader to visit Viet Nam. She affirmed Bangladesh's policy of attaching importance to boosting relations with Viet Nam.

PM Khai and his Bangladeshi counterpart informed each other of the recent political and economic situations in their respective countries. They discussed measures to further cement and promote the traditional friendship and multifaceted co-operation between the two Governments and peoples. Host and guest also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern.

The two PMs expressed their pleasure at the recent developments of the two countries' friendship and co-operation, particularly since the visit to Bangladesh by President Tran Duc Luong of Viet Nam in March 2004.

They were of the same view that potential for co-operation between Viet Nam and Bangladesh still remained untapped, thus the two countries should strengthen their co-ordination in the near future.

In that spirit, the two leaders discussed measures to implement agreements reached by ministries and agencies, particularly in the areas of trade, investment, agriculture, industry, science and technology, education, culture, tourism and sports.

They agreed to strive to increase bilateral trade to 100 million USD by 2008, focusing on the pharmaceutical, garment, and leather industries, cement production, agricultural machinery manufacturing, and wood furniture making.

They also agreed to consider incentives, particularly in the form of tariffs, for imports from each other and create favourable conditions for business circles of the two sides to conduct direct payments.

PM Khai and his Bangladeshi counterpart reached an agreement on the necessary preparations for the first session of their Joint Governmental Committee on Economic, Cultural and Sci-tech Co-operation in the near future. They vowed to encourage the exchange of visits by business missions of the two countries.

PM Zia briefed her host of Bangladesh's favourable investment environment, which offers incentive tax policies and abundant human resources. She expressed the hope that Vietnamese investors would pour their investment into her country, especially in the areas of farm produce processing and agricultural machinery manufacturing.

The Bangladeshi leader expressed her desire to cooperate with Viet Nam in agricultural production, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and cultural, sports and information exchanges.

The two PMs agreed to boost cooperation in education, training, tourism and aviation in order to deepen the two peoples' mutual understanding.

They agreed to push up bilateral cooperation within the regional and international mechanisms such as the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia Cooperation Dialogues, the Ganga-Mekong Cooperation Programme, and the cooperation between Southeast Asia and South Asia.

The Bangladeshi leader thanked Viet Nam for attempting to help her country become a full dialogue partner of ASEAN, thus facilitating the former's wish to participate in the cooperation mechanisms in Asia, including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

The Vietnamese PM expressed thanks to Bangladesh for supporting Viet Nam's entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in its candidacy for a UN Security Council non-permanent member in the 2008-2009 term and for the Presidency of the General Assembly of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The two leaders said they believed that the success of the Viet Nam visit by PM Zia would help bring the multifaceted cooperation and friendship between the two countries to a new height, meeting the two peoples' aspirations and interests, and for the sake of peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

PM Zia thanked PM Khai, other leaders and the people of Viet Nam for their warm welcome and strong feelings for her delegation. She invited PM Khai to visit Bangladesh.

PM Khai accepted the invitation with thanks

* President Tran Duc Luong received visiting Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Ziasaid: President Tran Duc Luong hoped that Viet Nam and Bangladesh would actively promote multifaceted cooperation to match it to their bilateral political ties, while receiving visiting Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in Ha Noi on May 18.

President Luong described the Bangladeshi PM first official visit to Viet Nam as a milestone in the two countries' relations, which will vigorously promote and increase the effectiveness of the two countries' bilateral cooperation.

The President was delighted at the initial results of a number of agreements reached between the two sides during the his visit to Bangladesh in March 2004.

"Viet Nam is ready to share experiences in agricultural production, and poverty reduction with Bangladesh in the spirit of mutual assistance for common development," Luong told his guest.

The Bangladeshi PM expressed her impression of Viet Nam's socio-economic achievements in recent years, particularly in agricultural production and poverty reduction.

The PM said that Bangladesh would like to learn from Viet Nam's experiences in agricultural development, particularly in creating high-yield rice varieties.

The PM spoke about Bangladesh's high quality products, such as pharmaceutical products, and additives for the textile industry. Those products can meet Viet Nam's requirements, Zia said. She invited Vietnamese businesses to invest in the leather tanning, footwear, and other industries in Bangladesh.

She agreed with President Luong that in addition to political, economic, and commercial ties, the two countries should promote cultural, social, and sports cooperation.

On the two countries' cooperation at international and regional forums, President Luong said Viet Nam will do what it can to help Bangladesh become a full dialogue partner of the ASEAN, and take part in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Ganga-Mekong Cooperation Programme.

* Prime Minister Phan Van Khai gave a banquet in honour of the Bangladeshi PM: At the banquet, the two PMs expressed their hope for the further promotion of bilateral cooperation.

PM Zia said the Bangladeshi people love and admire the Vietnamese Great President Ho Chi Minh. Under President Ho's leadership, the Vietnamese people seized national independence after a long struggle, and Viet Nam's victory was a source of encouragement for the Bangladeshi people in their struggle for freedom, she stressed.

 On May 19, the Bangladeshi PM laid a wreath at the Martyrs' Monument and paid a floral tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum. In the afternoon of the same day,

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia left Ha Noi, ending her official visit to Viet Nam.



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