Belgium to Support Vietnam in Agent Orange Cleanup: Official

Belgium will soon initiate projects to support Vietnam in the cleanup of Agent Orange and supports the European Parliament (EP) in swiftly adopting resolutions and actions to aid Vietnam, said President of the Belgian Senate Stephanie D'Hose.

The Belgian senate president made the commitment at a meeting with Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son as part of his working visit to Belgium on January 31-February 1.

Ms. Stephanie D'Hose highly valued the significance of Minister Son's visit as the first by a Vietnamese Foreign Minister in 12 years, especially considering the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and five years of the Strategic Partnership in Agriculture in 2023. She agreed to promptly sign a cooperation agreement between the Vietnamese National Assembly and the Belgian Federal Parliament.

Sharing the same view, President of the Chamber of Representatives Eliane Tillieux asserted in another meeting with FM Son that the resolution passed by the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, calling for support for victims of Agent Orange, is a strong message urging the international community to assist Vietnam in addressing the consequences of Agent Orange. She proposed supporting experienced Belgian businesses in implementing detoxification projects in Vietnam to realize this resolution.

Both sides agreed to enhance delegation exchanges, actively promote bilateral cooperation mechanisms, deepen the Strategic Partnership in Agriculture, and strengthen collaboration in education, climate change response, green transformation, and people-to-people exchanges.

At another meeting with FM Son, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, Foreign Trade, and Culture Hadja Lahbib agreed to implement projects supporting Vietnam in addressing the consequences of war, especially detoxification in affected areas by Agent Orange, in line with the resolutions of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives.

Minister Hadja Lahbib expressed her willingness to build a cooperative agricultural program between Vietnam and Belgian regions. Belgium can assist Vietnam in developing circular economy agricultural models, smart agriculture, and climate change adaptation, she added, suggesting that the Vietnamese government create favorable conditions for Belgian businesses to expand investment and operate in Vietnam, especially in high-tech industries and energy transition.

In meetings with Belgian parliamentary leaders, Minister Son affirmed Vietnam's desire to strengthen comprehensive friendship and cooperation with Belgium. He proposed that the Belgian Parliament ratify the Vietnam-EU Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) and urged the European Commission (EC) to lift the IUU yellow card toward Vietnamese fisheries. 

(Tin Tuc, Vietnam Plus, VIR)