Bulgaria, Vietnam ink MoU on defence cooperation

ASEAN agrees deal on bloc’s tourism workers

Ways to effectively implement an agreement on tourism workers across member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were discussed at a seminar on Tuesday.

Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh and his Bulgarian counterpart Angel Naydenov. (Source: Vietnamplus)

Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh and his Bulgarian counterpart Angel Naydenov. (Source: Vietnamplus)

The ASEAN Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on Tourism Professionals will come into effect in 2015, and is expected to facilitate the free movement and employment of qualified and certified personnel between the bloc’s member states.

It is also expected to help Viet Nam attract skilled workers to fill the shortage of staff in the local tourism sector and enable Vietnamese workers in the sector to work in other ASEAN countries.

Participants at the seminar discussed a handbook that guides implementation of the agreement. The handbook, which was developed with input from the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism and the EU-funded Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme, was adopted by ASEAN tourism ministers at their meeting in Laos in mid-January and has been made available to all member nations.

A series of User Guides for Tourism Professionals, Employers and Training Organisations have also been prepared and put online to answer questions about how the agreement on tourism professionals works, as well as the requirements and implications for tourism employees and employers.

According to ESRT, as each ASEAN nation has its own standards, certification and regulations for recognising the competency of workers in the tourism sector, there is a need for agreement on what constitutes equivalent competency to work in tourism by a worker, for example from Viet Nam, who is seeking a position in Malaysia.

For a foreign tourism professional to be recognised by other ASEAN member states and to be eligible to work in a host country, they will need to have a valid tourism competency certificate in a specific tourism job title as specified in the Common ASEAN Tourism Curriculum, issued by the Tourism Professional Certification Board in an ASEAN member state.

There are 32 job titles covered under this MRA, ranging from housekeeping, front office, food and beverages services, and food production in the hotel sector, to travel agents and tour operators in the travel sector.

Vietnam, Bulgaria step up defence links

Vietnam and Bulgaria have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation, voicing their hope for the elevation of the linkage to a new height.

The MoU was inked by Vietnamese Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh and his Bulgarian counterpart Angel Naydenov following their talks in Sofia on August 15.

Defence Minister Thanh was on an official visit to Bulgaria from August 14-17 at the invitation of Defence Minister Naydenov.

During the talks, Minister Thanh expressed his hope for the development of comprehensive cooperation between the two nations, adding that Bulgaria is one of Vietnam’s important partners in Europe.

Minister Thanh said Vietnam’s comprehensive and effective cooperation with Bulgaria, including that in the field of national defence, is acting as a bridge for the Southeast Asian country to expand its relations with European nations.

According to the minister, the signing of the MoU manifests the two sides’ wish to elevate bilateral relations, including defence ties, to a new height. Under the MoU, the two sides will conduct exchanges of delegations at all levels, training, experience and information, and cooperate in defence industry.

Minister Thanh expressed his belief that on the basis of the traditional friendship and each side’s potential, the bilateral cooperation will yield practical outcomes for the benefit of the two nations, and for peace, stability and development in the region and the world at large.

For his part, Bulgarian Defence Minister Naydenov affirmed Vietnam as one of Bulgaria ‘s important and trust-worthy partners in Asia.

He said the similarity Vietnam and Bulgaria share in policy creates favourable conditions for the two countries to step up their multi-faceted cooperation, including defence ties.

He voiced his hope that the MoU will concretise existing areas of cooperation between the two countries while opening up new ones.

The Bulgarian minister pointed to prioritised areas in the defence cooperation, namely the exchange of delegations and experience in participating in the United Nations peacekeeping missions, military medicine, humanitarian activities, military technologies and anti-terrorism.

Earlier on the same day, the Vietnamese delegation was received by Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, who described the visit as a manifestation of the fruitful traditional relationship between the two nations and the two armies as well.

Bulgaria attaches importance to the linkage with Vietnam, he said, voicing his hope that the relationship will be further developed following his upcoming visit to the Southeast Asian country.

President Plevneliev pledged favourable conditions for cooperation between the two armies, especially in the field of training which he regarded as a bridge for long-term cooperation between the two countries.

Minister Thanh reiterated Bulgaria’s significant position in Vietnam’s foreign policy, saying the Vietnamese people wish to develop cooperative relations with the country.

He called on the Bulgarian side to create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community to integrate into the host country and contribute to developing the traditional friendship between the two nations.

During their stay in Bulgaria, Minister Thanh and his entourage visited the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy and Energy, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the National Military University of Bulgaria.

The Bulgaria visit forms part of the minister’s trip to European countries from August 6-21 to reinforce the traditional friendship and mutual beneficiary cooperation between the people and army of Vietnam and the host countries.

Conference reviews planting and reinforcement of Vietnam-Laos land border markers

A conference was held in the central province of Nghe An on August 19 to review the results of planting and reinforcing the Vietnam-Laos land border markers.

Addressing the conference, foreign minister Pham Binh Minh highlighted co-ordinated efforts by the Vietnam-Laos Joint Committee on Border Marker Planting, relevant ministries and agencies and people of both nations.

Minh asked all concerned parties to complete the remaining work by 2014, build and sign legal documents related to the border issue such as a protocol on the Vietnam-Laos borderline and national markers and a new agreement on mechanism for managing the borderline in the new situation.

Especially, both sides should effectively implement the government-level agreement on tackling free immigration and unlicensed marriages of those living along the Vietnam – Laos border, said Minh.

For his part, Lao Deputy Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith emphasized that the completion of reinforcing the land border markers is a common victory of both nations that is of great significance as far as politics, national security and defence and economic development are concerned, contributing to the building of a borderline of peace, friendship, stability and cooperation.

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ delegation visits Vietnam

A high-ranking delegation from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces paid a visit to Division 9, Army Corps 4 under the Vietnam People’s Army on August 15, according to the army daily Quan doi Nhan dan (People’s Army).

At the meeting with the division’s leaders, the guests spoke highly of Division 9’s training and production models, adding that Cambodia can learn a lot from them.

The Cambodian officers expressed thanks for the division’s help to the Cambodian people in their struggle to escape from genocide.

Both sides emphazized the need to increase regular exchange of experience between Division 9 and units of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in the coming time as a contribution to fostering friendship between the two armies and peoples.

WB asked to continue support for VN’s economic reforms

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan has proposed the World Bank (WB) increase assistance, both financially and technically, for Vietnam to help the country successfully implement its economic reform programme.

Deputy PM Nhan made the proposal while receiving Tunc Uyanik, Director of Global Financial Systems Practice and Manager of Financial and Private Sector Development Unit for East Asia and the Pacific at the WB in Hanoi on August 15.

He spoke highly of financial and technical assistance and policy consultations the bank has given to Vietnam over the past time.

The Deputy PM informed the guest that the Vietnamese Government has approved a project on innovations targeting people on low income financed by the WB. The project aims to call on organisations and businesses to apply new technology solutions to create low-cost products and services for low-income earners.

He also voiced his wish that the WB will pay more attention to the Nghi Son Economic Zone in the central province of Thanh Hoa and a poverty reduction project in six districts in the northern province of Ha Giang.

For his part, Tunc Uyanik said his bank will back Vietnam’s underway programmes and continue providing resources for the country to speed up the implementation of them.

Party activities in Italy hailed

A senior Vietnamese official has hailed Party activities in Italy over the past time as helping strengthen the Party’s leadership and fighting power.

Dao Ngoc Dung, Secretary of the Party Committee s of Centrally-run Agencies made the praise while working with those in charge of Party affairs in Italy on August 15, as part of his Italian visit from August 15-18 to inspect Party-building and related activities.

Dung underscored the direction and implementation of the resolution set at the fourth meeting of the Communist Party of Vietnam (11 th tenure) and the Politburo’s Directive 03 on popularising the campaign “Studying and following President Ho Chi Minh’s moral examples” and the Party build-up.

He said every Party member and official should raise their sense of responsibility as it is one of the criteria to assess their working performance.

Following the session, the delegation also shared managerial skills, Party activities and the orientation of thinking among students.

From August 8-15, the delegation also worked with Party organisations in Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Constitutional council put on table

Lawmakers and experts gathered in Hanoi on August 17 to discuss the proposed establishment of a Constitutional Council to protect the 1992 Constitution, which is currently being amended.

Delegates at the workshop discussed whether it is necessary to set up a council to protect the Constitution and ensure that it is implemented in the correct manner.

They also considered the theoretical and practical foundations for the establishment of the council as well as its functions.

It was agreed that if the council is formed, it will work independently with other State agencies such as the National Assembly and its bodies, the Government and the People’s Court.

Addressing the event, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung said the forthcoming amendments to the 1992 Constitution must institutionalise the Party’s guidelines along with the will and expectations of the people in building and perfecting the constitutional protection mechanism.

This institution must be in place to protect the Constitution and ensure that human and civil rights are defended, he stressed.

Viet Nam, Laos strengthen transport co-operation

Viet Nam and Laos have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a co-operation programme that will establish an information exchange mechanism between the two nations.

The MoU was signed in Laos during talks between a delegation from the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport led by visiting Deputy Minister Le Dinh Tho and its Lao counterpart.

Under the terms of the MoU, the two ministries will hold forums between Vietnamese and Lao transport and logistics businesses while investing in building and upgrading roads, border gates, bus stations and stops.

They will also establish two-way goods transportation between Laos and Viet Nam, simplify administrative and customs procedures and intensify inspections.

Viet Nam will help the Lao ministry to upgrade its website and offer human resources training to improve the efficiency of bilateral transport co-operation and nurturing the special friendship between the two countries.

UNODC aids Vietnam’s drug control strategy

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) pledges to help Vietnam complete its national drug control strategy by 2020 with a vision towards 2030.

Jeremey Douglas, Regional Representative of the UNODC Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, made the pledge at a reception held by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi on August 15.

At the reception, Douglas applauded Vietnam’s anti-drug and crime prevention achievements, speaking highly of the nation’s collaborative efforts with the office and regional countries.

He said UNODC and Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment have inked the national programme on drug and crime prevention for the 2012-2017 period.

The programme will aid the country in approving international conventions and protocols supervised by UNODC and accelerate the country’s approval of relevant articles in Vietnam’s law system.

Deputy Prime Minister Phuc highly valued the office’s support to Vietnam, adding that the programme will make positive contributions to the national goals and strategies on anti-drug and crime prevention.

He said he hopes UNODC will continue to supply medicine to tackle HIV and improve drug rehabilitation, and provide experts in the field to help Vietnam.

Stronger defence link drives Vietnam-Poland forward

Polish Minister of National Defence Tomasz Siemoniak has made it clear that stronger bilateral defence link will drive Vietnam-Poland ties forward.

He has agreed with his Vietnamese counterpart General Phung Quang Thanh’s proposal at their talks in Warsaw on August 12 that the two countries should strengthen defence link by facilitating visits by all-level delegations.

At the same time, both sides should establish a deputy ministerial-level defence dialogue mechanism, and work together on education- training, defence industry, and exchange of information and research as well.

Minister Siemoniak also pointed to mutual trust as a foundation for the two countries’ future defence cooperation to be realised.

He stated that Vietnam plays an important role in maintaining political stability in the Asia-Pacific in general and Southeast Asia in particular — the regions that are crucial to the world’s peace and stability.

He also expressed his support for Vietnam’s stance on settling disputes by peaceful means in line with international law. He hailed the country’s involvement in the United Nations peacekeeping mission.

He pledged that his country stands ready to bridge Vietnam and Europe and hoped that Vietnam will help connect Poland with Southeast Asia.

Minister Thanh, for his part, declared that his visit to Poland, from August 11 to 14, mirrors Vietnam’s policy of deeply integrating into global community and fostering friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with Poland specifically.

He said Vietnam attaches importance to bolstering all-sided cooperation with Poland, which according to him, shares a lot of similarities with Vietnam and holds an important position in the country’s foreign policy.

At their talks, the two ministers exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual concern.

Congratulations on Indonesia’s National Day

President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on August 16 extended their congratulations to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on his country’s 68 th National Day (August 17, 1945-2013).

The same day, Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh cabled greetings to their counterparts, Vice President Boediono and Foreign Minister Marty M. Natalegawa.