|Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Antonio Alessandro in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency__Photo: VNA
President Vo Van Thuong and his spouse will pay a State visit to Italy this month at the invitation of Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
On this occasion, Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Antonio Alessandro granted Vietnam News Agency an interview ahead of the visit, expecting that it will contribute to update the political relations between the two countries and orient their cooperation in all sectors.
Reporter: What is the significance of the upcoming visit to Italy by Vietnam President Vo Van Thuong?
Ambassador Antonio Alessandro: The upcoming visit to Italy by Vietnam President Vo Van Thuong has a great significance as it marks 50 years of diplomatic relations (March 23, 1973 – March 23, 2023) and 10 years of strategic partnership (January 21, 2013 – January 21, 2023).
It takes place ten years after another major visit to Italy, that of the Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong in January 2013 when the two countries signed a joint statement on the establishment of the strategic partnership.
President Sergio Mattarella will welcome President Vo Van Thuong on a “State Visit”, the highest format in international relations.
The two Heads of State will celebrate the friendship, solidarity and cooperation that have characterized our relations so far and set new ambitions for the future.
|Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (R) receives Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Hanoi on November 6, 2015, part of the latter's State visit to Vietnam.__Photo: VNA
Italy and Vietnam have changed in these 50 years and the world has changed. There is a lot that they can give each other, one as a founding member of the EU and as a G7 member, the other as a prominent member of ASEAN and as one of the most dynamic economies in the Indo-Pacific region.
The visit will update our political relation to orient our cooperation in all sectors.
Reporter: Vietnam and Italy celebrate 50 anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations this year. Looking back on such a memorable journey, what are the most remarkable achievements attained and what are potentials that have not been tapped?
Ambassador Antonio Alessandro: Trade and investments are of course sectors in which we have achieved great results.
We have reached the record figure of USD 6.2 billion in bilateral trade in 2022 and we want to continue to grow thanks to the EVFTA. Vietnam is Italy’s largest trade partner in ASEAN and Italy is the second largest EU exporter to Vietnam.
|President Vo Van Thuong meets with Italian President Sergio Mattarella during his trip to attend the coronation of King Charles III of the UK in London from May 4 to 6, 2023._Photo: VNA
Italian investments are less impressive in volume, but very high in quality and very relevant for our respective economies.
Some Italian investments are particularly visible and appreciated by the Vietnamese public.
We also see some initial Vietnam's investments in Italy and we want to encourage them.
S&T is another area that has given great satisfaction to both Parties. Seven three -years programs have already been concluded and we have just issued the call to collect new projects for the 2024-26 program.
Finally, culture and creative industries, as well as protection of heritage, are further areas where our cooperation has brought about important results.
In all these areas, there are opportunities. I would also like to mention the importance of people-to-people mobility such as tourism and student exchanges.
Reporter: Could you share with us your plan to celebrate the two countries’ 50th anniversary?
Ambassador Antonio Alessandro: We had our official celebration on 23 March, the exact day in which we established diplomatic relations.
A number of initiatives have followed, like the Italian opera in costume "Cavalleria Rusticana", the visit of the Italian Navy Ship "Morosini", the exhibition "Created in Italy".
A wonderful photographic exhibition of some memorable moments in our relations was exposed at Casa Italia until a few days ago. It was curated by the Italian news agency ANSA with photos also provided by the Vietnam News Agency in the framework of the cooperation agreement between the two agencies.
Stay tuned on the Embassy's social media to know more about the next events.
Reporter: On a personal note, if you host a Vietnamese friend in Italy, what will you show him/her firstly about your country? And when you welcome an Italian friend in Vietnam, what do you usually do?
Ambassador Antonio Alessandro: In Italy I would take him to the Capitol, from where you see the “Foro Romano”, the heart of ancient Rome. There is exactly where President Vo Van Thuong will be accompanied, to discover the magic and history of the "eternal City", as we call Rome.
|Part of Foro Romano, the heart of ancient Rome__Photo: Vietravel
In Vietnam I would choose the Temple of Literature, which is an inspiring place to capture the spirit of traditional Vietnam, and on the way to go there, watching the vibe of modern Vietnam.-(VNA/VLLF)