ABU DHABI // Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, yesterday held talks with the visiting Vietnamese prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, aimed at strengthening economic ties. Mr Dung's visit, the first by a Vietnamese prime minister to any Gulf state, marked a key development in bilateral relations, said Vietnam's ambassador to the UAE, Nguyen Quang Khai. Sheikh Khalifa, who is also Ruler of Abu Dhabi, welcomed Mr Dung at a special ceremony at Al Bateen Palace, according to the official news agency, WAM.
Mr Dung arrived on Sunday at the start of a three-day tour and yesterday met Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. "He had very successful and fruitful talks with Sheikh Khalifa about the relationship between Vietnam and the UAE," said Mr Khai yesterday. "The fact that the prime minister has chosen to visit the UAE is significant because it is a sign of the good relationship between Vietnam and the UAE in particular.
"The talks cover co-operation between the two countries in the fields of investment, trade and labour. There are many investors and businessmen from the Gulf states who are very keen to invest further in the Vietnamese market, particularly property." Mr Dung spoke of his pleasure at visiting the UAE and conveyed the regards of the Vietnamese president, Nguyen Minh Triet, to Sheikh Khalifa. He added that the UAE was playing "a vital regional and international role".
The wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, received Mr Dung's wife, Tran Thanh Kiem, who is accompanying her husband. During their meeting they discussed the role of women in government and the private sector, WAM reported. The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday signed a deal with its Vietnamese counterpart on the exchange of trade information. A total of six agreements are expected to be completed on areas including double taxation avoidance and freer access for Vietnamese labourers to the UAE. Mr Dung will give a speech at a business forum in Dubai before flying back to Vietnam this afternoon.
Vietnam and the UAE have been strengthening ties in recent years. Sheikh Mohammed visited Vietnam in Sept 2007 and Hanoi opened an embassy in Abu Dhabi in January last year. The UAE opened its own embassy in the Vietnamese capital in Nov 2008. email@example.com