Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson met today with Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam. The meeting was held in connection with the state visit of the President of Iceland to Vietnam. The ministers discussed possible ways of strengthening the ties between the two countries and promoting trade. The Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs noted his government's willingness to accelerate the free-trade negotiations with the EFTA-states which are already at an advanced stage.
The ministers discussed increased collaboration within the United Nations, where the Vietnamese minister expressed interest in drawing on Iceland's experience and knowledge in matters regarding the law of the sea. Furthermore, the ministers agreed to work towards an agreement on the elimination of visas for Icelandic citizens who travel to Vietnam. The foreign minister emphasised the importance of human rights, making special note of gender equality in particular, where Iceland had achieved remarkable progress. Both ministers expressed interest in increasing the number of Vietnamese students in the Geothermal Training Programme of the United Nations University, in addition to which the minister mentioned the Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme. Lastly, the ministers also discussed the refugee crisis in Europe and the situation in the South China Sea.
Following the meeting Minister Sveinsson signed an agreement with Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade, on cooperation between the countries in matters relating to geothermal energy.