Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, November 26, 2007

Viet Nam leaders meet with EU about new bilateral pact

In a visit to Hanoi by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Union and Viet Nam today launched talks about a new cooperation pact, Agence France-Presse reported.

Barroso, the first head of the EU executive body to visit the communist country, has commended Viet Nam’s sharp economic growth and poverty reduction.

According to a joint statement made by Barroso and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, one of the aims of the discussion was to “facilitate deeper economic and commercial integration between the European Union and Vietnam preceding a future Free Trade Agreement between the EU and countries of ASEAN.”

The pact would cover areas such as trade, investment, education, culture, justice, security, the environment, and science and technology.

“The time has now come to establish a closer political partnership between the EU and Vietnam, enabling us to tackle more effectively some of the common global challenges we are faced with,” Barroso said.

EU-Vietnamese dialogue had broadened in recent years, Barroso added, “to include more political issues such as governance, human rights and anti-corruption.”

Barroso said he had discussed human rights with Dung, but did not elaborate on specific topics. A source also said members of the EU delegation raised concerns about the recent arrests of pro-democracy activists, including the November 17 detention of a U.S., French, and Thai citizen.

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