(VOVworld) - Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has confirmed Vietnam’s recognition of high importance to enhanced relations with the Vatican while meeting with Pope Francis and His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See on Saturday.
At the meeting, Pope Francis highlighted PM Dung’s visit as a good opportunity for both sides to deepen mutual understanding, thus furthering relations between Vietnam and the Vatican. He expressed admiration for Vietnam’s tremendous achievements in socio-economic development which have resulted in remarkably improved lives of the Vietnamese people in every aspect. Pope Francis also applauded the country’s efforts to effectively carry out the policy on freedom of belief and religion as a result of its election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). He noted with satisfaction diverse activities run by the Vietnam Catholic Church like annual conferences of the Vietnam Bishop Council and major Catholic celebrations, and thanked the Vietnam Government for facilitating the Vatican non-resident envoy’s activities in the country. PM Dung, in turn, reiterated Vietnam’s resolve to implement its unwavering policy of respecting the people’s legitimate rights to belief and religious freedom and support Vietnamese Catholics’ greater contributions to national construction and development. The Pope expressed concern about recent tensions in the East Sea and wished to contribute to ensuring peace, stability and security in the region and the world at large. Prime Minister Dung and the Vietnamese delegation returned to Hanoi on Sunday after visiting Belgium, the EU, and Germany and attending the 10th ASEM Summit in Italy. They also visited the Vatican as the last leg of their European tour.