Vietnamese and Norwegian Prime Ministers hold talk

VNA Sept. 27 -- Prime Minister Phan Van Khai held talks with his Norwegian counterpart Kjell Magre Bondevik in Oslo, Norway, right after his arrival in Norway on Sept. 27.

This is the third leg of the Vietnamese Prime Minister's fortnight tour of four Scandinavian countries from Sept. 20.

Reviewing bilateral relations, the two PMs were pleased to note the rapid development and the increasing efficiency of their friendship and cooperation, especially in the oil and gas industry and hunger eradication and poverty reduction. They devoted much time to discuss measures to further expand the two countries' cooperation.

PM Bondevik highly evaluated Viet Nam's role and position in the Southeast Asian region and on the international arena. He said Norway will continue to cooperate with and assist Viet Nam in the domains that Norway is strong in and that Viet Nam wants to develop, such as oil and gas, fishery, hydro-electric power, environmental protection, education, health care, and corruption fight.

The Norwegian PM expressed thanks to Viet Nam for backing Norway's candidacy for membership of the United Nations Security Council. He affirmed Norway's support for Viet Nam's membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

PM Khai congratulated the Norwegian people on their socio-economic development and thanked the Government and people of Norway for their assistance to Viet Nam in the past as well as in the current process of renovation. He praised Norway's contributions to development cooperation, especially the success of the "20/20 Initiative" conference in Hanoi last October.

The Vietnamese PM put forth a number of suggestions with the aim of further boosting bilateral economic, commercial and investment relations.

The two PMs also discussed a number of international and regional issues of mutual concern.

PM Khai invited PM Bondevik to visit Viet Nam at a time convenient for both sides, and the latter received the invitation with pleasure.

After the talks, the two PMs witnessed the signing of an agreement on Norway's aid to Viet Nam in developing a law on fisheries and related legal documents.

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and his Norwegian counterpart witnessed the signing of a USD 1.32 million agreement on helping Viet Nam develop Fisheries Law and documents under the Law.

Signatories were Viet Nam's Minister of Fisheries Ta Quang Ngoc and Ms Tove Strand, Director of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

The agreement was considered as an initial result within the cooperation framework between the governments of Viet Nam and Norway in supporting Viet Nam to build a law on fisheries which was reached during the Viet Nam visit by Norwegian Prime Minister Madame Gro Harlem Brundland in October, 1996.

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and his Norwegian counterpart later met with Norwegian and foreign pressmen to brief about the contents of their agreement.

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai informed the pressmen that the Norwegian Government, particularly Prime Minister Kjell Magre Bondevik, has put Viet Nam into the list of its regular assistance recipients, and Norway would continue boosting cooperation with and assistance to Viet Nam in many fields. He expressed his hope that Vietnamese and Norwegian businesspeople would develop their cooperation and investment to larger scales.

On the same day, PM Khai met with the President of Norwegian Parliament, Ms Kirsti Kolle Grondhl, and members of the Parliament's Committee for External Relations.

Parliament President Ms Kirsti Kolle Grondhl welcomed the Norway visit by PM Phan Van Khai and his wife, praising the solidarity and friendship between the two States and peoples, and expressing wish for further bilateral cooperation.

Regarding the content of the talks, PM Khai shared Ms Kirsti Kolle Groundhl's opinion that the relations between the two countries are on the rise. PM Khai said he believed and hoped that Ms Kirsti Kolle Grondhl, with her position and prestige, would continue effectively supporting Viet Nam and helping Viet Nam stay in the list of countries to enjoy priorities in receiving development aid.

He also wished that Norway would continue increasing ODA capital for Viet Nam.

In the afternoon of the same day, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and his entourage visited the oil and gas group Statoil, which is a partner to a project to exploit oil and gas with Viet Nam.

In the evening, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai was feted by Prime Minister Kjell Magre Bondevik.--VNA