Ambassador: Vietnam and Armenia to strengthen cultural, education and tourism exchange

Speaking with Vietnam Times on the occastion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Armenia (July 14, 1992 - July 14, 2022), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia in Vietnam Vahram Kazhoyan highlighted the two countries' close relations and prospects for cooperation in the near future.
July 21, 2022 | 06:39
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Mr. Vahram Kazhoyan - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia in Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Yen

Dear Honorable Ambassador, what are your opinions on the relationship between Vietnam and Armenia over the past 30 years ?

- On September 21, 1991, the Republic of Armenia declared its independence. After only a short time, on July 14, 1992, Vietnam and Armenia officially established diplomatic relations, paving the way for friendship and cooperation in many fields.

Over the past 30 years, Armenian senior leaders have visited Vietnam many times such as the official visit of former Vice President of the Republic of Armenia Gagik Harutyunyan in 1992, the official visit of former President Serzh Sargsyan in 2012 and the official visit of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in 2019. During those visits, the leaders of the two countries affirmed their desire to develop the traditional friendship between Vietnam and Armenia and cooperate for mutual benefits.

Regarding political relations, the two countries support each other at international forums, meet and exchange delegations at all levels, and promote cooperation between ministries, branches and localities. Thereby, enhancing political trust and mutual understanding, creating a solid basis for the expansion and development of economic, trade, investment and other cooperation relations. An important new page in bilateral relations was marked by the inauguration of the Armenian Embassy in Hanoi in 2013.

Regarding economic cooperation, in addition to the agreements and Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral cooperation, Armenia and Vietnam also cooperated within the framework of the Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union since 2016.

In June 2022, the Embassy of Armenia had a meeting with many companies, business owners and entrepreneurs in Ho Chi Minh City to promote trade between the two countries. Armenia wishes to export alcohol beverages, wines, watches, dairy products and meat to Vietnam. Armenian businesses are interested in Vietnamese products such as coffee, computers, electronic products and components, and textiles. The parties agreed to continue the meetings to implement the preliminary agreements.

Armenia is aiming to export apricots to Vietnam. Apricots grown in the sunny Ararat valley region of Armenia are sweet and delicious. Armenia is one of the largest apricot suppliers to the world market. Currently, the Embassy of Armenia is discussing this issue with Masan Group of Vietnam.

Recently, the Embassy of Armenia worked with Sun Group and proposed the investment idea of building a cable car system to Mount Tatev to develop tourism in this area. It is expected that this cable car route crosses a gorge leading to the Tatev monastery built in the 9th century.

VN - Armenia
A poster of the culture of Armenia was designed by students at Wellspring Saigon School in Vietnam. Photo: Huy Vuong

In your opinions, what are the roles ofpeople-to-people diplomacy in promoting the Vietnam-Armenian friendship?

- For many years, the Embassy of Armenia has always focused on maintaining a close relationship with the Vietnam - Armenia Friendship Association, organizing friendly exchange activities to celebrate major holidays and events, making significant contributions to people-to-people diplomacy in general and the friendly, cooperative relations between the people of Vietnam and Armenia in particular.

Currently, many Armenian citizens are living and working in Vietnam. They are mainly English teachers and pilots at Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air. They said that Vietnamese people are very friendly, often helping them in life and looking forward to working here for a long time. However, I noticed that not many Vietnamese people know about Armenia, just as not many Armenians know about Vietnam.

Therefore, I think that the people of our two countries need to enhance mutual understanding, and the best way is to further strengthen cultural exchange, education and tourism programs between the two countries. Accordingly, from July 11, 2022, the procedure for applying for a tourist visa to enter Armenia has been simplified for Vietnamese citizens. Vietnamese citizens holding a valid passport will no longer need an invitation letter approved by the Passport and Visa Office of the Ministry of Public Security or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.

Since the beginning of 2022, the Armenian Embassy has reached an agreement with 20 Vietnamese travel companies on organizing tours to Armenia with various forms such as family tour, short-trip tour (3-4 days), long-trip tour (3-4 weeks). Hopefully, in the coming time, there will be more tourists from Vietnam come to Armenia to explore the landscapes and cultural heritages and vice versa.

The Republic of Armenia has also supported the training of Vietnamese officials and students in the past. However, the number of Vietnamese students in Armenia and Armenian students in Vietnam is very small. On July 5, 2022, the University of Science and Technology of Hanoi (USTH) and the French University of Armenia (UFAR) signed a cooperation agreement, opening up opportunities for learning, academic exchange as well as cultural exchange for young people who are passionate about science, technology, engineering and economics.

In your opinions, what are the key activities on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Armenia?

- During a business trip to Ho Chi Minh City in June 2022, we organized a meeting between Armenians in Ho Chi Minh City and students at Wellspring Saigon School, where the Peace for All project was held, the goal is to help students learn about cultures and people around the world right in Ho Chi Minh City.

The students were very impressed with the culture, people and nature of the beautiful Armenia. After the meeting, the students designed a poster showing the typical Armenian culture and this poster was displayed at school events during the 2021-2022 school year.

Currently, the Embassy is planning to invite the artists from Armenia to Vietnam to perform on the important holidays of Armenia and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Armenia.

Thank you very much, Honorable Ambassador!

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