|Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Vietnam Vahram Kazhoyan
(Photo: Armenian Embassy in Vietnam)
Reporter: Diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Armenia were established on 14 July 1992. The friendship and traditional cooperation between Vietnam and Armenia have been built up over the past 30 years. Would you please share about diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Armenia at present?
Ambassador Vahram Kazhoyan: Allow me this opportunity to congratulate the Vietnamese people on the New Year and wish them health, happiness and prosperity in 2023.
Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Vietnam were established on July 14, 1992. In 2022 we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Armenia and Vietnam, the framework of which included an exchange of congratulation messages between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Vietnam. The Embassy of the Republic of Armenia had planned a number of events in the framework of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, including meetings, receptions, and the translation of the novel of the well-known Armenian writer Khachik Dashtents “Call of Ploughmen” from Armenian into Vietnamese and its publication in 2023.
With regards to the friendship and traditional cooperation between Armenia and Vietnam, I would like to underline that although the relations between our peoples has a history of at least eight hundred years, the new era of cooperation in our times can be definitely considered the mid-20th century when the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic provided its expert and technical support to the people of Vietnam during their struggle for independence, and later during the American war. It was further strengthened in the period of construction of the new and independent Vietnam.
First President of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh visited Armenia in July 1959, giving a new impetus to the further development of friendship and relations of traditional cooperation between Armenia and Vietnam.
Around 2000 Vietnamese students, many of whom are currently members of Vietnam-Armenia Friendship Association (VAFA), have studied in the secondary and higher educational institutions of Armenia in the period of 1950-1990.
The last 30-year relations between Armenia and Vietnam have constantly developed in both bilateral and multilateral spheres.
Currently the cooperation between our two countries in the political sphere is at the high level: a number of high-level official visits have taken place during this period.
The opening of the Embassy of Armenia in Vietnam in 2013 gave a new, strong impetus to the further development of relations in political, economic and other spheres of mutual interest between the two countries. We are confident that opening the Vietnamese Embassy in the Republic of Armenia would highly contribute to the new phase of development of our relations.
Reporter: The economic and investment cooperation between Vietnam and Armenia has achieved progress in the context of the Vietnam – Eurasian Union FTA, of which Armenia is a member, coming into force and the Vietnamese-Armenian Intergovernmental Commission on economic, trade, scientific and technical cooperation being put into operation. Would you please share how the cooperation between Vietnam and Armenia has been effectively implemented since then?
Ambassador Vahram Kazhoyan: Among many reasons for the opening of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to Vietnam in 2013, apart from deepening political cooperation between our countries, was also to develop the trade-economic relations between Armenia and Vietnam. In this context, I would like to mention that unfortunately the cooperation in the trade-economic sphere between the two countries is not yet at the same level as our political relations, despite the fact that Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement (Vietnam-EEU FTA) provides broad opportunities for developing and deepening the cooperation in the trade-economic sphere. The implementation of the provisions of the FTA will create most favorable conditions for the realization of mutually beneficial trade between our countries. These are some of the issues that are already being discussed in the framework of the EEU and will be further considered during the second session of the Armenian-Vietnamese Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation.
The Armenian-Vietnamese Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation was created in the framework of the Agreement on “Economic, trade, scientific and technical cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Armenia and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".
The first session of the Armenian-Vietnamese Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation took place on March 17, 2017. The second session is scheduled to be held in Yerevan and currently the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Vietnam, Ministries of Economy and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam are discussing holding of the second session of the Armenian-Vietnamese Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation in Yerevan, combined with an Armenian-Vietnamese business forum.
This will allow the business people of two countries to meet and discuss issues referring to the export and import of goods from Armenia to Vietnam and vice versa.
Armenia can export to Vietnam Armenian alcoholic beverages, particularly Armenian Ararat cognacs and wines, which have won many awards in various international competitions and specialized fairs, as well as dairy and meat products, fresh and dried fruits, watches and many other products.
Armenia is interested in importing from Vietnam fruits, computers and computer parts, electronics, rice, coffee, fruits and other products.
It should be noted that before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closing of the borders due to the spread of the pandemic, the volumes of bilateral trade between Armenia and Vietnam were constantly increasing, but these rates slowed down in 2020-2021.
Direct air communication between Armenia and Vietnam could certainly contribute to the further development and deepening of cooperation in the trade- economic spheres between the two countries. It will not only increase tourism between the two countries, but also will have an impact on the growth of direct bilateral trade.
Reporter: Cultural diplomacy and people-to-people diplomacy cooperation are also a focus of the two countries, helping the people and businesses of the two countries understand more about each other. What are your assessments of this cooperation?
Ambassador Vahram Kazhoyan: Cooperation in the cultural sphere and people-to-people contacts are important for the further development and deepening of relations between the two countries. There are many sites and places of interest in Armenia and Vietnam which attract tourists of both countries. Before the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of international borders, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Vietnam was in the process of organizing a fam-tour (tour) in the end of May to early June, for over a dozen Vietnamese travel agencies and agents, to visit Armenia for the familiarization with the tourism sector of Armenia – its sightseeing places, hotels, transportation, culture and cuisine. Unfortunately, the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the implementation of the above-mentioned project. The Embassy is nowadays reviving this project.
In order to promote the cooperation in the sphere of tourism between Armenia and Vietnam, the Government of Armenia has simplified the process of obtaining entry visas to Armenia for the citizens of Vietnam by removing the invitation requirement since July 11, 2022. Currently the citizens of Vietnam can obtain entry visas to Armenia either directly from the Embassy of Armenia in Hanoi or apply for an E-Visa of the Republic of Armenia. The Government of Armenia has proposed to sign an agreement on the elimination of entry visa requirement for the citizens of two countries.
Vietnam has traditionally been one of the main destinations for Armenian tourists in South-East Asia. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of tourists arriving in Vietnam from Armenia had registered steady annual increases. Many of the tourists arriving for holidays in Vietnam were also entrepreneurs who usually combined business and pleasure, seeking new trade and export opportunities while on holiday in Vietnam.
The best way to bring our two peoples closer is through tourism, culture and cuisine. Some of the future plans of our Embassy include organization of cultural and culinary exchanges between Armenia and Vietnam.
|Ambassador Vahram Kazhoyan at the Presidential Place in Hanoi (Photo: Armenian Embassy in Vietnam)
Reporter: On November 22, 2022, the official ceremony of signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Diplomatic School of Armenia and the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam took place. Could you share about the success of this event?
Ambassador Vahram Kazhoyan: The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Diplomatic School of Armenia and the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam was only the first step of cooperation between the two institutions. A number of events are planned in the framework of the signed Memorandum of Understanding, such as organization of lectures, including online, conducting courses for young diplomats of the foreign departments of the countries of South-East Asia on the domestic and foreign policy of Armenia and the region, as well as exchange of professors’ visits and their lectures in both institutions.
Reporter: In 2023, what will you do to contribute to promoting bilateral relations between Vietnam and Armenia during your term as the Armenian Ambassador to Vietnam which is considered as a bridge of the two countries’ friendship?
Ambassador Vahram Kazhoyan: As in previous years, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to Vietnam has planned a number of events in 2023 in the economic, cultural, educational, political and other spheres, aimed at the further development of relations between Armenia and Vietnam.
The bulk of activities will be centered around those issues that I have already addressed above. In that regard, I would certainly prioritize the holding of the second session of the Armenian-Vietnamese joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation in Yerevan in 2023 and the business forum. I would also add here the expansion of the legal base between the two countries. It seems that Armenia and Vietnam have signed all possible agreements but there is always ground for more specialized cooperation between the agencies, decentralized cooperation between the Armenian regions and Vietnamese provinces, as well as establishment of sister-city relations between Armenian and Vietnamese cities.
As I have already mentioned, the establishment of direct air communication between Armenia and Vietnam will be an important step forward, which will give the opportunity to record unprecedented progress in all directions of cooperation between our countries.
Certainly, there are many more programs and initiatives, cooperation agreements that are currently under consideration and the Embassy of Armenia will make relevant announcements in due course during 2023.
In the conclusion, I would like also to congratulate the Vietnamese people on the coming Lunar New Year – the year of the Cat and once again wish them health, happiness and prosperity.
Reporter: Thank you so much!