The Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday evening organized a reception to mark the 225th anniversary of the French National Day, better known internationally as Bastille Day.
The event drew the attendance of around 500 guests from local media, state agencies, diplomatic missions, and the French community in the southern city.
It also marked the completion of a 3.5-year term of Fabrice Mauries, French Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City.
“It is an honor for me to have all the guests come to celebrate the French National Day, and to say goodbye to me and my family who have been the special guests to HCMC for over three years,” he said.
The most memorable moment to Mauries during his office term here in HCMC is the excitement of the audience when the light show at the Reunification Palace began in December last year, the diplomat said.
“The show is the final program of the ‘French Year in Vietnam’ event which was held during last year to mark the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.
“With French funding, a lot of work has been done to improve infrastructure in HCMC and other places across the country, but many are still left unfinished due to the lack of time,” he added.
In response to the French Consul General who will soon leave the country, Le Thanh Liem, Vice Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee, said much work has been “jointly done by both sides during the past 40 years, which has laid a political foundation for further bilateral relations in the mutual interests of the peoples of the two countries.”
Especially, the organization of the “French Year in Vietnam 2013” and the “Vietnam Year in France 2014” has “testified to the vivid and colorful panorama of our bilateral relations and contributed to stronger and closer ties between our two peoples,” he said.
“France has been one of the biggest trade partners of HCMC with two-way trade reaching US$300 in the first six months of 2014. France has also been one of the biggest foreign investors in HCMC with 153 operational projects with registered capital worth about $820 million as of June 2014,” he added.
“Given all encouraging achievements in cooperation between France and HCMC, including the recent agreement on cooperation between the city and Rhone Alps region for the 2014-2017 period, I strongly believe that the Vietnam-France strategic partnership will keep flourishing and benefit not only our peoples but also peace and stability regionally and internationally,” Liem concluded.
The agreement on cooperation between HCMC and Rhone Alps was reached during a visit to the region by Le Hoang Quan, Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee, in late June 2014.
The deal covers the development of a sustainable economic partnership, development cooperation, cooperation on training, cultural exchanges, and training of young staff.
Vietnam and France signed a joint statement on upgrading their relations to a strategic partnership during the talks between Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault in Paris on September 25, 2013.