Prime Minister gave New Year banquet for dip. corps

Ha Noi, December 29 (VNA) -- Prime Minister Phan Van Khai gave a New Year banquet for the diplomatic corps in Ha Noi. Together with the Prime Minister were his deputies Nguyen Tan Dzung, Nguyen Manh Cam, Nguyen Cong Tan and Pham Gia Khiem, cabinet members, heads of Viet Nam Communist Party Central Committee Commissions and Government committees.

Ambassadors, charge d'affairs and chief representatives of international organisations led by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of the State of Palestine, Sayed Al Masri, attended the banquet.

In a toast to peace and cooperation for development and equality for all humanity in the Year 2001, the Prime Minister said:

"In their cause of national liberation, construction and development, the Vietnamese people have always enjoyed precious support and assistance from international friends.

"On this occasion, I would like, on behalf of the Government and people of Viet Nam, to ask Your Excellencies to convey to your countries, people and international organisations for which and whom you represent, the sincere sentiment and deep gratitude from the Vietnamese government and people.

"I also wish to reaffirm Viet Nam's earnest desire to unceasingly strengthen relations of friendship and cooperation in the spirit of Viet Nam's wishing to be a friend and reliable partner of all countries in the international community, striving for peace, independence and development.

"During the year 2000, Viet Nam has been able to overcome many difficulties and challenges, especially destructive disasters and floods, take new steps forward, maintain political security and social order, expand international relations and record achievements in an enthusiastic emulation drive running up to the ninth Congress of the Communist Party of Viet Nam.

"Looking ahead, the year 2001 is the first year for the implementation of the 2001-2005 Plan and the 2001-2010 Socio-Economic Development Strategy in order to improve our people's material and cultural life, promote industrialisation and modernisation, lift Viet Nam out of underdevelopment and lay the foundation for an industrialized Viet Nam by the year 2020."

The dean of the diplomatic corps conveyed the warmest greetings and congratulations to the Vietnamese Party, State and people.

He said: "In recent years, despite difficulties, the people of Viet Nam under the leadership of the Communist Party of Viet Nam have gained many successes, external relations have been expanded and the people's spiritual and material life has been improved. Those results have created the impetus and momentum for the Vietnamese people to enter the year 2001 and the 21st century.

"I would like to take this opportunity to express our great feelings and commendation, admiration, and respect by our colleagues for the important achievements of the Vietnamese people under the adopted policies of their leadership geared towards a developed and prosperous economy of Viet Nam."--VNA