Rivlin feted in Vietnam

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March 20, 2017 21:52

President Reuven Rivlin's visit to Vietnam marks another significant step in Israel's clear plan to pivot toward Asia and bolster its diplomatic relations with major players in the continent.

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PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN is accompanied by his Vietnamese counterpart, President Tran Dai Quang, yest

PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN is accompanied by his Vietnamese counterpart, President Tran Dai Quang, yesterday at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi as they review an honor guard including schoolgirls dressed in Israel’s national colors.. (photo credit:GPO)

All the speeches and remarks that President Reuven Rivlin has heard and made since his arrival in Vietnam cannot compete in bilateral symbolism with the little girls attired in full-skirted blue organza dresses with white trim standing and waving the flags of Israel and Vietnam on the grounds of the Presidential Palace. If anything was a sweet sign of friendship – this was it.

Rivlin and his wife, Nechama, were officially welcomed at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi by President Tran Dai Quang, an honor guard, and the cute little girls who wore the Israeli national colors.

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This was the second meeting between the two presidents, after Rivlin hosted Quang in Jerusalem two years ago. He said it is an honor to now be in Hanoi.

Rivlin said that he and his delegation had come to Vietnam in the belief that by combining Israeli technology and know-how with Vietnamese creativity and productivity, the two countries could contribute to improving the quality of life of countless numbers of people. As the fruits of such cooperation, Rivlin cited national security, state of the art technology in agriculture, water management technology, education, hi-tech and cyber.

Rivlin also expressed the hope that during his visit progress could be made toward the formulation of a bilateral freetrade agreement. Such an agreement, said Rivlin, would remove all barriers to fully inclusive cooperation at all levels between Israel and Vietnam.

Two agreements that Rivlin expects to be signed during his visit are one for industrial research and development and another for collaboration in scientific and technological research.

Quang spoke of the positive developments in cooperation between the two countries over the years, and said that he and Rivlin had discussed the need to increase the number of exchange delegations at all levels. The working meeting between the two presidents included a discussion on the best means of fighting terrorism with a view to maintaining global peace and stability.

As far as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is concerned, Quang reaffirmed support for all regional and international efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting solution, whereby a state of Palestine would exist alongside the State of Israel.

With trade as an important factor in bilateral relations, Quang said that he and Rivlin had agreed on a $3 billion target within the next few years.

Rivlin later met with heads of Israeli defense equipment companies who are part of his delegation. Vietnam buys a lot of Israeli defense equipment and has done so for several years. In November 2011, when President Shimon Peres became the first Israeli statesman to visit Vietnam, he was also accompanied by a defense industries delegation.

On Monday Rivlin also met with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who told him that Israel’s successes are an inspiration for the world. Rivlin also met with Communist Party secretary-general Nguyen Phu Trong to discuss areas of cooperation.

In the afternoon, Vietnam First Lady Nguyen Thi Hien took Nechama Rivlin to see a fashion show by one of Vietnam’s leading designers and in the evening the Rivlins were guests of honor at a state dinner hosted by the president and his wife.

At the dinner Rivlin spoke of two relatively young states with ancient civilizations which had fought hard to gain independence and to maintain their security.

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