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Political News Headlines 18/4

 NA committee discusses 2012 budget, casino business; Vietnam, Germany promote legislation relations; Vietnam-India strategic partnership develops well; Vietnam, Russia discuss extending partnership areas

NA committee discusses 2012 budget, casino business

Members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on April 17 focused their discussions on reviewing the 2012 State budget balance and the issuance of a decree on casino business activities.

They agreed with the Government’s report on the budget issue, saying that ministries, agencies and localities performed well in their budget collection, planning and spending.

According to the Government report, budget revenue exceeded the estimates set by the NA by 1.9 percent, ensuring resources for State management, the implementation of socio-economic development goals and maintenance of defence and security.

Budget expenditure totalled VND1,171 trillion (US$55.76 billion), 8.3 percent higher than the estimates.

Regarding the casino business development, the committee members agreed with reports by the Government and the NA’s Finance-Budget Committee on the issuance of a decree on casino business activities.

However, they noted that casino business development is a big issue that has great impact on the country’s socio-economic development and investment attraction, so it needs close management.

New casino business projects are only licensed if the casino business development planning is approved, they said.

Vietnam, Germany promote legislation relations

National Assembly (NA) Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung has affirmed that the Vietnamese NA will do at its utmost to foster bilateral relations between Vietnam and Germany to meet both peoples’ expectations.

At a reception for Edelgard Bulmahn, Vice President of the German Bundestag (parliament), in Hanoi on April 17, Hung noted the two countries have maintained high-level visit exchange, creating momentum for strengthening bilateral relations.

He said Vietnam-Germany investment cooperation remains modest and yet to match their potential. He proposed the German Bundestag encourage German businesses to invest in Vietnam, particularly in the areas of mutual concern such as energy development, medical equipment, and chemicals manufacturing.

Hung hailed Germany’s selection of HCM City to host the 14th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Businesses in November 2014, saying the biennial event will help promote trade and investment between Germany and Asia-Pacific nations, including Vietnam.

For her part, Edelgard spoke highly of the Vietnamese legislature’s recent adoption of the new Constitution to promote social progress and democracy. She proposed that the two countries’ parliaments support and foster bilateral relations in the future.

She said the two countries should strengthen cooperation in energy and heavy industry which play to Germany’s strength.

Vietnam-strategic partnership develops well

The strategic partnership between Vietnam and India has developed rapidly in recent times, especially following the State-level visit to India by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in November 2013.

The view was shared by Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh and his Indian counterpart Anil Wadhwa, at the sixth political consultation and the third strategic dialogue of Vietnam and India in New Delhi on April 16-17.

Both sides exchanged measures to effectively implement the 2013-2015 programme of action to strengthen the strategic partnership, primarily in key areas of politics, economics, security-defence, science-technology, and culture-education.

They agreed to thoroughly prepare for the upcoming visit to Vietnam by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, slated for the second half of 2014.

They reached a consensus on a number of regional and global issues of mutual concern, including ensuring peace, stability, security and maritime safety in the East Sea.

Both sides agreed to work closely together at regional and international forums, notably the ASEAN-India cooperation, the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Mekong-Ganga cooperation (MGC), as well as at the United Nations.   

Vinh and Wahwa agreed to hold the 7th political consultation and the fourth strategic dialogue in Vietnam in 2016.

On this occasion, the Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies under the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and the Vivekananda International Foundation of India signed an agreement on expanding research on strategic issues and exchanging scholars.

Vietnamese Government Office officials visit Laos

Prime Minister of Laos Thongsinh Thammavong received a delegation from the Vietnamese Government Office led by its Minister-Chairman Nguyen Van Nen on April 17.

At the meeting in Vientiane, Nen briefed the Lao PM of the outcomes of the talks between the two Government Offices as well as their cooperation over the recent past, especially the Vietnamese office’s assistance to its Lao counterpart to create a website for the Lao Government.

In 2015, the two sides will continue to increase the sharing of information, delegation exchanges, and personnel training and help upgrade the Lao Government’s website into a portal.

The Lao leader valued progress in the cooperation between the two offices over the past time and thanked the Vietnamese Government Office for its support for the operation of its Lao counterpart.

He also expressed his hope that the two offices will further enhance their connection and gradually raise the quality of their works, with the aim of building a modern administrative system to serve the development of each country.

Condolences to RoK sunken vessel victims

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Hai Binh has extended Vietnam’s condolences to the bereaved of the victims aboard a ferry that capsized and sank off the Republic of Korea on April 16.

Sewol, carrying 459 people, mostly school students and teachers, was travelling from Incheon port to the southern resort island of Jeju.

Sources say about 174 people have been rescued and more than 300 others remain unaccounted for.

“We do hope that increased search and rescue efforts of the RoK government will help find those still missing,” said spokesperson Binh at a regular press briefing in Hanoi on April 17.

Binh also said Vietnam has followed with keen interest the situation in Ukraine and raised concern about complicated situation in East Ukraine.  

He called on parties concerned to refrain themselves from complicating the situation and causing losses to local people, and to hold peaceful dialogue to meet the legitimate interests of the parties and aspirations of the people.

Ensuring legitimate rights of overseas Vietnamese

Vietnam is examining nationality registration procedures for Vietnamese expatriates to ensure their legitimate rights and interests, says Le Hai Binh, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson.

Binh was responding to reporters’ queries at a regular press briefing in Hanoi on April 17, amidst concerns about a small number of Vietnamese residents abroad having registered to retain their Vietnamese nationality.    

According to the 2008 Nationality Law, Overseas Vietnamese who want to acquire Vietnamese nationality must register with diplomatic representative agencies overseas as of July 1, 2014, or they will lose their legal status.

However, only a few among 4.5 million Vietnamese residents overseas have completed the procedures.

Binh quoted Vietnam’s Constitution saying Vietnamese expatriates are an indispensable part of the Vietnamese nation.

Relevant authorities are looking in to procedures to devise proper solutions to ensure legitimate rights and interests of Vietnamese residents overseas, Binh stressed.

President meets with role model disabled

President Truong Tan Sang had a meeting in Hanoi on April 17 with role model people with disabilities and the disabled people’s organisations on the occasion of the Vietnamese Day for People with Disabilities (April 18).

The President confirmed that the Party and State always pay special attention to the disabled through concrete policies.

Care for the disabled has been improved, however, there remain prejudices against them, hindering their efforts to integrate into the community, he said.

President Sang asked relevant agencies and all people to continue taking care of those disadvantaged people.

The Vietnam Disabled People’s Association has 17 member societies in provinces and cities nationwide.

It has launched activities to raise public awareness on people with disabilities and given comments to the legal documents built for the disadvantaged people.

Also on the occasion, a festival for visually-impaired people was held in the capital Hanoi on April 17.

This year’s festival, the second of its kind, honoured ten outstanding blind individuals along with a cultural and sports exchange between city students and the blind.

A job placement event was organised for the visually-impaired participants.

The first festival was held in 2011.-

Lawmakers become more involved in FTA negotiations

The National Assembly (NA) Committee for External Relations and the US Agency for International Development on April 17 held a conference to provide information about Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) for NA deputies.

Speaking at the Ho Chi Minh City talks, Ngo Duc Manh, deputy head of the committee, said that the supply will help increase the deputies’ awareness of FTAs and make the approval of an FTA easier when it is submitted to the NA.

Participants agreed that the connection between negotiators, NA deputies and businesses is an effective way to raise the efficiency of the negotiation process.

Silvia Hernandez, former Tourism Minister of Mexico and USAID expert, said that with a different name in each country, the legislative body always participates constructively and has its particular power in concretising FTAs for the benefits of each nation and its locals.

Participants also exchanged views on a new generation of FTAs, their influences on Vietnam, as well as opportunities and challenges they will provide the country.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said that a new-generation FTA, which is being pursued by the US and the European Union, does not limit trade to goods exchanges but expands to services, investment and intellectual property.

Khanh also stressed the need for Vietnam to participate in FTA negotiations in order to diversify and rebalance the country’s export markets as well as to serve its ongoing economic restructuring and growth model reform.

To date, Vietnam has signed eight FTAs, while seven others are under negotiation.

Vietnam, Russia discuss extending partnership areas

Vietnam and Russia will further strengthen cooperation in technology, environment, oil and gas, nuclear power and human resources training.

The consensus was reached during talks between Chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Science, Technology and Environment Pham Xuan Dung and visiting Vice Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Energy Levchenko Sergey Georgievich in Hanoi on April 17.

Georgievich, who is also President of the Russia – Vietnam Friendship Parliamentary Group, hailed the state of productive coordination between the two committees over the past time, saying that this has played a part in the effective bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.

Both host and guest stressed the need to realise agreements reached in the past, and share professional experience through regular visits.

They vowed to share expertise in law-making and monitoring major projects while devising the details of joint work in the coming time.

VNA/VOV/VNN

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