INTRODUCTION: Vietnamese Premier Mr Pham Van Dong ended a four day official visit to France on Thursday (28 April).
INTRODUCTION: Vietnamese Premier Mr Pham Van Dong ended a four day official visit to France on Thursday (28 April). It was his first visit to the west since the end of the Vietnam war, and the fall of South Vietnam's United States backed government.
SYNOPSIS: The 71-year-old leader held a news conference in Paris after his four days of talks with French leaders.
Speaking in French, Mr Dong said he was optimistic about the outcome of forthcoming negotiations with the United States on normalising relations between the two countries. The talks, which begin next Tuesday (3 May) will be held alternately at the United States and Vietnamese embassies in Paris. He said he believed positive results were possible, given goodwill on both sides.
Vietnam is anxious to establish diplomatic relations with the United States as soon as possible and says it will welcome U.S. capital investments. It also says it is ready to grant the United States offshore oil prospecting rights. Mr Dong said that because of the Vietnam war -- in which United States planes carried out devastating bombing raids -- his country was in a backward state both technically and economically.
The Vietnamese premier's visit was expected to pave the way for large scale western aid to help in reconstruction. France has pledged major economic and technological assistance, including credit facilities to build an iron and steel plant and a cement factory and cotton mill this year.