President Clinton concludes Vietnam visit

Nov. 20 (VNA) -- President William Jefferson Clinton of the U.S. and his wife and entourage left Ho Chi Minh City late Sunday night, Nov. 19, winding up their four-day official visit to Viet Nam.

In Ho Chi Minh City, President Clinton was welcomed by Chairman of the municipal People's Committee Vo Viet Thanh, who outlined the city's economic development and resolution of social issues, especially in hunger and poverty eradication and improvement of people's educational level.

Chairman Thanh wished for further development of the two countries' ties. He said the U.S. Government should pay due attention and contribute to overcoming the aftermath of the war in Viet Nam.

President Clinton said he was impressed by the land and people of Viet Nam. He spoke highly of the city's achievements in economic renovation and solution of social issues.

After the reception, President W.J. Clinton and Chairman Vo Viet Thanh met with representatives of economic branches, social organizations, religions, intellectuals and businessmen of the two countries.

Chairman Thanh expressed his pleasure with progress in the process of normalization between the two countries. He highly appreciated the efforts made by President Clinton as well as political, social and economic organizations, including US businesses, to overcome difficulties in the process.

The city's authorities and people, Thanh said, hoped that the ties between the two countries, especially in economic and commercial areas, would be further will developed for mutual benefits.

President Clinton expressed his hope that the visit would help the Vietnamese and US people better understand each other and see each other as partner to achieve the aspiration and benefits commensurate with the two countries' potential.

He said he believed that Viet Nam's economy would be further developed in the future, and that Viet Nam and the U.S. would have a better future.

Visiting the Viet Nam International Container Port, President Clinton said it symbolized Viet Nam's gateway to the future, showing how the nation is seizing new opportunities of the 21st century.

He attended a ceremony to present helmets to children within the framework of the "Helmets for Kids" Programme launched by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Asian Injury Prevention Fund (AIPF) and US companies.

The same day, representatives from more than 80 U.S. businesses and 80 Vietnamese enterprises attended a Business Forum jointly organized by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the AmCham, the US-Viet Nam Trade Council and the US-ASEAN Trade Council. Participants focused their discussions on the bilateral trade pact signed recently by the two countries and the importance of information technology in economic development.

At the municipal theatre, Mrs. Hilary Clinton met with teenagers participating in a campaign to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, and women representatives from different sectors.

She spoke highly of the role of Vietnamese women in national construction as well as socio-economic development. She said she hoped the two countries' women would join efforts in cooperation and mutual assistance to face challenges.--VNA