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Iraq PM in Tehran on key political visit

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Iran gave its clearest nod of support to Iraq’s prime minister Monday as he seeks to line up backing from key neighbors in his bid to remain in office after a more than seven-month political limbo in Baghdad.

Iran plays a critical role in Iraqi affairs and the Shiite-led coalition of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is making his first visit to Tehran since Iraq’s indecisive March elections.

Iran has the power to sway al-Maliki’s political fortunes through its deep ties to Iraq’s major Shiite factions, which have dominated government offices and security forces since the U.S.-led invasion toppled Iran’s arch foe Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, front left, walks along with Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, right, during an official welcoming ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Oct. 18, 2010.

Al-Maliki’s coalition is close to securing enough allies for a majority in parliament despite finishing second in March elections behind a Sunni-backed bloc. But al-Maliki is also busy sending out feelers around the region to weigh his support.

The signals from Iran seemed strong.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Rauf Sheibani said al-Maliki was “one of the suitable choices” to lead the next Iraqi government — the clearest indication that Tehran wants al-Maliki to stay in power.

Sheibani was quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency as citing al-Maliki’s experience leading Iraq and the current “sensitive conditions” during the withdrawal of the U.S. military.

Later, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Iraq to settle its political crisis.

“Formation of a government as soon as possible and establishment of full security are among the important needs of Iraq because development and reconstruction of Iraq … can’t be achieved without these two,” state TV quoted Khamenei as telling al-Maliki.

Al-Maliki held meetings with other Iranian officials and was to travel to the Shiite religious center of Qom, where one of al-Maliki’s important allies lives in self-exile.

The pact with anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was critical for al-Maliki, but it has alarmed Washington because of al-Sadr’s former militia ties and his likely demands for key roles in a new government.

Al-Maliki also could be urging Iran to pressure Iraq’s biggest Shiite political party, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, to join his coalition. The Iranian-backed Supreme Council has been the main Shiite holdout on al-Maliki’s effort to remain in power and could be working for an alternative choice as government leader — possibly Shiite Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

The United States has not publicly endorsed any candidate to lead Iraq, but has repeatedly stressed the need for the next government to represent all of Iraq’s groups. These include members of the Sunni-backed group that narrowly won the March elections but was unable to cobble together a parliament majority to replace al-Maliki.

But the head of the bloc, Ayad Allawi, has strongly denounced Iran as trying to destabilize Iraq and steer its political process.

“I won’t be begging Iran to agree upon my nomination,” Allawi told the Al-Arabiya satellite TV channel on Sunday in a clear jab at al-Maliki.

He added that Iran should get out of Iraqi politics and “not impose or support one faction over the other.”

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Washington was also worried about what he called Iranian “meddling” in the formation of a new Iraqi government.

“We are concerned about any neighboring country that would meddle in Iraq’s affairs,” Crowley said. “Ultimately, this has to be an Iraqi decision as part of its own political process. … We would expect the Iraqi government to work on behalf of its own citizens rather than on behalf of another country.”

Allawi has threatened to boycott the next government if al-Maliki remains in office, which could open wider rifts between Iran and Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Al-Maliki met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman before heading to Tehran, but the Jordanian monarch withheld public endorsement for al-Maliki for a second term.

Even if al-Maliki appears to have backing from Iran, he desperately wants support from Sunnis, too — in part because of strong pressure from the United States. He will visit the Sunni-dominated nations of Turkey and Egypt next week.

Al-Maliki was greeted by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki after landing at the Tehran airport. He also met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

IRNA said al-Maliki will travel to Qom, a holy city 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of the Tehran. The report didn’t give details, but it is expected to include talks with the cleric al-Sadr.

Source: SGGP

Political Bureau urges restructuring of Vinashin

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Political Bureau urges restructuring of Vinashin

QĐND – Monday, August 09, 2010, 21:37 (GMT+7)

The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee has decided to set up a steering committee in charge of assisting the country’s largest shipbuilder Vinashin to settle its operation and financial problems as soon as possible.

This was part of the Political Bureau’s conclusion on Vinashin on July 31 after hearing the Party Delegation of the Government reporting the group’s situation and opinions from the Party Central Committee Office, the Party Central Committee’s Inspection Commission, the National Assembly’s Economics Committee, the Ministry of Public Security and other central ministries and agencies.

The Steering Committee consisting of representatives of relevant ministries, sectors, branches of the Government and a number of Party units, is headed by Nguyen Sinh Hung, a Politburo member and Permanent Deputy Prime Minister.

It is tasked to work out policies and measures to help Vinashin develop its business line after getting stabilised.

In the conclusion, the Political Bureau recognised the wide-ranging and fast developments Vinashin has made since its foundation in 1996.

It cited the group’s important infrastructural facilities that enabled the ship building industry to grow at an annual average growth rate of 35-40 percent during 1996-2006 and its contingent of 70,000 experts and technicians capable of building various types of ships for economic, defence, security purposes and for export.

However, Vinashin is currently facing a lot of difficulties and due to management, weaknesses and some serious wrongdoings, the Political Bureau said.

It referred to the group’s reckless expansion and scattering investment, financial problems that made it end up on the brink of bankruptcy and come to a standstill in business and its investment projects, as well as its internal troubles that caused 17,000 of its workforce to leave the group.

The Political Bureau pointed out objective and subjective reasons behind the Vinashin case, underscoring subjective causes as the main ones.

It said direct responsibility in the case must be held by the group’s Management Board and its leadership, including the Chairman of the Management Board while laying stress on the lack of responsibilities among number of concerned State management agencies at the central and grassroots levels.

To remedy Vinashin’s weaknesses and fix its wrongdoings, the Political Bureau assigned the Party Delegation of the Government to take the lead in instructing such works as follows:

– Promoting what Vinashin has achieved in the past years, continuing to affirm the mechanical engineering industry as the major sector in the national strategy on industrialisation and modernisation and the ship building and repairing industry as the spearhead sector for the development of maritime economy and the country’s sea strategy through 2020 and the following years.

– Quickly restructuring Vinashin to stabilize its production and business and step by step strengthening its trademark to prevent it from going bankruptcy and collapsing as it will have adverse effects on the ship building industry’s development confidence rate and international debt payment as well as the country’s investment environment. 

– Urgently re-evaluating the performance of Vinashin’s parent company, its affiliates, integrated companies and invested projects in an accurate, objective, and honest manner to take specific and appropriate rearrangements.

In dealing with Vinashin’s debts and its increase of charter capital, especially those relating to the State budget, the Political Bureau asked the Government to work out feasible measures in line with Vietnam’s laws and international rules.

It asked the Government to ensure the harmony of interests of concerned parties and not to cause difficulties for other groups, corporations as well as credit organisations.

Besides, the Political Bureau requested that other economic groups and corporations are examined, inspected and evaluated accurately and their financial situation and production and business performance are disclosed publicly and transparently. 

It also urged the Government to promptly keep a close watch on these groups and corporations when they expand their investment into other fields out of their main business line.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Political Bureau works with provincial Party Committees

In Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Political Bureau works with provincial Party Committees

QĐND – Sunday, August 01, 2010, 21:10 (GMT+7)

Politburo members held working sessions in Hanoi this week with the Party Committees of Gia Lai, Dak Nong, Phu Yen, Quang Nam, Kon Tum and Quang Ngai provinces to examine their preparations for provincial Party congresses.

These Politburo members include permanent member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat Truong Tan Sang, Minister of Public Security Le Hong Anh, and Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Pham Quang Nghi.

Having heard the provincial leaders’ reports on their preparations for Party congresses, including draft political reports, operational reviews of the 2006-2010 term, personnel plans, and congress resolutions, Mr Sang approved the presented contents.

Mr Sang praised the achievements the provincial Party Committees have reaped during the 2006-2010 term, citing gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates of 13.6 percent in Gia Lai, 15.1 percent in Dak Nong, 12.3 percent in Phu Yen,12.8 percent in Quang Nam,14.5 percent in Kon Tum, and 18.5 percent in Quang Ngai.

The provinces have made progress in cultural and social affairs, improving the quality of human resources, reducing the number of poor households, mobilising investment sources, ensuring political stability and security, and promoting foreign affairs, he said.

However, the Party official pointed out shortcomings facing the provinces such as small-scale economy, poor living conditions, and low tax collection, despite their advantages in terms of location, natural resources, tourism potential and maritime economy.

Mr Sang asked the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai to pour investment into developing traffic systems, create an open investment environment, facilitate local businesses’ efforts to expand production, and expedite construction of the Pleiku, An Khe, Ayun Pa and Chu Se economic zones.

For the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong, Mr Sang recommended that it foster the development of the support industry and the forestry and mining sectors, while protecting the environment. Dak Nong should also focus on developing human resources and vocational training to meet the requirements of the new period, he said.

Working with the Phu Yen authorities, Mr Sang said Phu Yen needs to step up its application of scientific and technological advances to production and reduce its export of raw natural resources.

Phu Yen must scale up its industries, enhance its competitiveness, promote marine tourism and make the most of its coastal location in a bid to reach its socio-economic targets in the next term.

Mr Sang asked Quang Nam province to allocate more investment to reducing the number of poor households and support sustainable development in its eight mountainous districts.

He also urged Quang Nam to do an effective job of implementing Party and State policies on agriculture, farmers, and rural areas, and correct shortcomings related to planning.

While working Kon Tum province, Mr Sang emphasised the need to conserve natural resources and speed up poverty reduction. The province must uphold national solidarity, enhance the leadership and strength its Party Committees, and improve the management efficiency of administrations at all levels.

During his working session with Quang Ngai province, Mr Sang advised that the province pay closer attention to management of natural resources and the environment.

In addition to accomplishing its socio-economic growth targets, Quang Ngai needs to make greater efforts to respond to climate change, the Party official stressed.

While agreeing with most of their personnel plans, Mr Sang asked the provinces to accelerate their training of female, young, and ethnic minority officials.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Agencies strengthen people’s political consensus

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Agencies strengthen people’s political consensus

QĐND – Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 21:1 (GMT+7)

Information and education agencies of the Party will focus on strengthening the Party’s ideological unity and the people’s political and spiritual consensus while maximising the power of socialist democracy and the great bloc of national unity.

These are the major tasks for these agencies in the future, said To Huy Rua, Head of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC)’s Commission for Information and Education at a symposium to review 80 years of the Party’s information and education work in Hanoi on July 21.

These agencies will also concentrate on maintaining and promoting the Party’s ideology and defending and developing Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts, said Rua, who is also a Politburo member and CPVCC Secretary.

They are asked to help the entire Party and people grasp firmly and reach the major goals, viewpoints, orientations and tasks the country has set for the national construction and development from now through 2020, the Party official stressed.

In addition, they are also requested to work to defend an ideology highlighting a socialist national independence and bring into full play patriotism, the spirit of self-reliance, self-strengthening and creativity and create a movement to get the entire people involved in fulfilling revolutionary goals and duties.

That requires the information and education sector, especially those working in ideological, theoretical and scientific research to continue modernising their line of thoughts and making more assessments of reality and theoretical studies, Rua said.

He also underlined the need for the sector to raise awareness and provide a clearer insight into concepts of socialism and the road towards socialism in Vietnam, the socialist-oriented market economy, the ruling party and the Party building work, the building of a socialist law-governed State, the organisation and the operations of the Fatherland Front and other mass organisations.

Apart from those, the theoretical studies and reality assessments should make clear the new issues arising during the renewal process, Rua noted.

Close to 50 presentations sent to the symposium confirmed that information dissemination and education work has over the past 80 years has contributed importantly to the achievements made by the Party and the nation.

However, they pointed out that valuable experiences in these fields should continue to be studied and analysed further.

Discussing the situation in Vietnam and the world in the future, many participants shared the view that those working in information dissemination and education sector need to be quick and sensitive in processing information to help officials, party members and people gain an accurate understanding of the issues and events that concern them.

They emphasised the necessity for those working in the ideological front to go down to roots and participate directly in the socio-economic development process and addressing pressing issues in society.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Sarkozy rival to launch new French political party

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2010 at 8:41 am

Former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin was set to launch a new political party on Saturday, setting his sights on challenging long-time rival Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidency in 2012.

Organisers expected some 3,000 supporters to turn up for the founding congress in Paris of the new centre-right party called “Republique solidaire” (United Republic).

The 56-year-old ex-prime minister, who also served as foreign and interior minister under ex-president Jacques Chirac, has emerged as Sarkozy’s fiercest critic within his right-wing camp.

In an interview to Le Monde published Friday, Villepin again took aim at Sarkozy, saying his government’s “dominant trait was that it was developing policies with pollsters who every day look at the surveys and ask what publicity stunt they can score.”

Former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin (C) was set to launch a new political party on Saturday, setting his sights on challenging long-time rival Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidency in 2012.

Polls show Villepin would pick up no more than 7 or 8 percent of the vote in 2012, but his approval ratings stand at 49 percent — higher than those registered by Sarkozy, which have hit rock-bottom over the past months.

The latest polls put Sarkozy’s approval rating at around 33 percent.

Villepin is a member of Sarkozy’s UMP party and while they both served under Chirac, they fell out spectacularly over who should succeed him.

Chirac openly campaigned for Villepin but Sarkozy turned out to be the more skillful politician by winning the UMP nomination.

A showdown took place last year when Villepin went on trial for allegedly taking part in a smear campaign to ruin Sarkozy’s presidential bid, but the ex-prime minister was cleared of all charges.

Prosecutors however have appealed the verdict and he is expected to be back in court again next year, just as the campaign for the Elysee gets into full swing.

A career diplomat who speaks flawless English, Villepin won global fame for leading the charge against the US invasion of Iraq at the United Nations in 2003.

His smooth, patrician some would say arrogant style contrasts sharply with Sarkozy’s more brash approach. A published poet, novelist and essayist, he cuts a very different figure to the more populist Sarkozy.

His candidacy however could divide the right at a time when Sarkozy’s party is facing a challenge from the far-right.

Marine Le Pen, vice president of the far-right National Front, said she was “very happy” about the prospect of Villepin running in 2012 and suggested it could weaken Sarkozy.

“He will be Sarkozy’s Chevenement,” she said.

Former interior minister Jean-Paul Chevenement is seen as having drained away left-wing votes in the 2002 election that allowed far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father, to make it into the run-off against Chirac.

Source: SGGP

Political fallout grows from Gulf spill

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2010 at 9:04 am

(AFP/Getty Images) Oil oozes through the reeds at the mouth of the Mississippi River on May 17, 2010 in near Venice, Louisiana.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – The US interior secretary faces lawmakers Tuesday over a huge and growing Gulf oil spill that engineers are struggling to control and now threatens Florida’s coral reefs.

As political fallout from the spill grows, sources said President Barack Obama would appoint an independent commission into the disaster, and an official at the federal agency that regulates drilling stepped down.

BP has begun siphoning some of the oil leaking from a ruptured well pipe via a so-called insertion tube up to a container vessel.

But the fix is containing only about 20 percent of the flow, which experts warned could soon be drawn into a current that would take it up Florida’s coast, threatening fragile coral reefs, marine life and beaches.

On Tuesday, Secretary Ken Salazar was to be grilled by US senators as the administration sought to show it would get tough with those found responsible for the oil spill.

An administration official said Obama would establish an independent commission in coming days, supplementing government inquiries into the major environmental disaster.

The spill appeared to claim its first political casualty, with the announced retirement of Chris Oynes, who oversaw offshore energy for the Minerals Management Service.

The federal agency has come in for scathing criticism over the enforcement of safety standards for offshore drilling.

Last week Obama slammed MMS as being too “cozy” with the companies it regulates, and ordered “top to bottom” reform of the agency after allegations it allowed BP and other firms to drill in the Gulf without the required permits.

BP, which leased the rig that exploded and sank last month, prompting the disastrous spill, says that a fifth of the flow is now being sucked up by an insertion tube.

The British energy giant said it was gearing up for an operation to inject tonnes of heavy drilling “mud” into the well to staunch the flow before permanently sealing it with cement.

“Our next effort to try to stop the flow will occur later this week or early in the weekend coming up and it’s the top kill procedure,” said BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles.

“If that’s successful we would be bringing this incident to a close.”

BP’s first claim of success in tackling the spill risked being overshadowed by fears that the oil continuing to gush into the Gulf could be drawn into a powerful sea current.

That could shift parts of the toxic slick towards Florida, wreaking havoc on the fragile coral reefs and nature preserves of the famed Florida Keys.

There are also concerns that huge underwater plumes of crude could be starving the sea of oxygen.

A research vessel has located plumes reported to be up to 10 miles (16 kilometers) long, three miles (4.8 km) wide and 300 feet (92 meters) thick that suggest a far greater impact on the marine environment than previously thought.

“BP is burying its head in the sand on these underwater threats,” said Democratic congressman Ed Markey.

“These huge plumes of oil are like hidden mushroom clouds that indicate a larger spill than originally thought and portend more dangerous long-term fallout for the Gulf of Mexico’s wildlife and economy.”

An expert from the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies told AFP that deepwater spills posed greater risks due to these plumes.

“Normally, in a shallow spill, everything pretty much shoots up to the surface and the impacts are primarily to surface organisms like turtles, dolphins, whales and birds,” explained Paul Montagna.

“What happens is we’re dealing with a different kind of situation than the past because under this really cold, high-pressure environment the oil is getting dispersed through the water column,” he said.

Response crews have used some 560,000 gallons of controversial chemical dispersants, spraying them onto surface oil and also directly into the leak in a bid to break up the oil.

With an estimated 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, of oil spewing into the Gulf every day, BP was keen to celebrate placing the insertion tube into the main leak.

The operation, conducted by robotic submarines, allows some oil to be siphoned via a mile-long pipe to a drill ship on the surface.

Suttles said he had flown over the slick Monday morning and seen “a big difference,” witnessing “probably the smallest amount of oil I’ve seen on the surface since the effort began.”

Source: SGGP

Nepal heading for major political crisis

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2010 at 8:51 am

More than two years after a Constituent Assembly was elected to help guide Nepal out of years of civil war and political upheaval, the constitution it was supposed to draft remains unwritten amid endless political bickering.

On May 28, the Assembly’s tenure — and the provisional constitution governing the nation — expires. Without a new constitution or an extension of that deadline, chaos is almost certain.

With the deadline approaching, the former Maoist rebels who now control the largest party in parliament have repeatedly shut down the streets of Katmandu with protests, demanding they be given the reigns of power. The government has resisted, but still needs Maoist votes to come to a resolution.

“The prime minister has been meeting leaders from various political parties and even the president to work out a solution,” Law Minister Prem Bahadur Singh said. “There is no alternative to extending the Constituent Assembly or the country will plunge into a crisis.”

The status of the government becomes unclear if there is no extension. However, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has insisted he will not step down, even without one.

Political crises are nothing new to Nepal, which faced 10 years of fighting between government forces and Maoist rebels. In 2006, the Maoists gave up their armed revolt and joined the peace process.

Then-King Gyanendra, who had seized absolute power in 2005, was forced to give up authoritarian rule in 2006 after weeks of street protests. He was soon stripped of all his powers. In 2008, Nepal was declared a republic, the Constituent Assembly was elected and the centuries-old monarchy was ended.

The Maoists won top billing in that vote, and led a coalition government that appeared on target to draft the new constitution and cement peace, stability and democracy to this Himalayan nation.

But nine months later, the Maoist prime minister resigned — though the Maoists kept their seats in the Assembly — amid a dispute with the president.

Since then, the Maoists have been protesting both inside the Assembly and in the streets, demanding that the new prime minister step down and that they be returned to power. Meanwhile, disputes over the shape of the constitution have stymied the drafting process.

To extend the provisional constitution would require a two-thirds vote of parliament, but with the Maoists in control of 40 percent of the seats, no deal can be sealed without their agreement.

Lilamani Pokhrel, a top Maoist leader, said there will be no negotiations until the prime minister steps down.

“The base line for ending the stalemate is the prime minister’s resignation, everything else comes only after that,” Pokhrel said.

Once he quits, the Maoists say they’re ready to discuss anything — the peace process, the constitution and the formation of a new government.

But the squabbling between the top three parties — the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) — has nearly frozen the political process.

Negotiators from those three parties have been meeting this week in informal sessions, but Ram Sharan Mahat of the Nepali Congress said there had been little progress.

Constitutional expert Bhimarjun Acharya said it was the parties’ incompetence that brought the country to the point of political vacuum.

“These parties are the reason why the assembly failed to write the constitution. A new constitution cannot be made until these parties agree in theory what the new constitution will be and are genuinely sincere,” he said.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam, Myanmar hold political consultation

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 4:48 am

Vietnam, Myanmar hold political consultation

QĐND – Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 11:19 (GMT+7)

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam and Myanmar held their sixth political consultation meeting in the capital city of Hanoi on May 11.

At the meeting, co-chaired by Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Dao Viet Trung and his Myanmar counterpart Maung Myint, the two sides informed each other of the situation in their respective countries and exchanged views on cooperation in politics, economy, trade and investment.

The officials discussed a range of measures to realise bilateral cooperation agreements, especially the deals signed during Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to Myanmar last month.

The two sides noted with pleasure the time-honoured friendship and multi-faceted cooperation between Vietnam and Myanmar have continued to well expand, particularly in the field of economy.

They agreed to urge ministries, sectors and businesses of the two countries to effectively implement the inked agreements in a move to further beef up their economic, trade and investment ties.

The officials agreed upon a number of activities to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam-Myanmar diplomatic relations, which falls on May 28.

Myanmar affirmed its support for Vietnam so that it can fulfil its role as ASEAN chairmanship in 2010.

The diplomats also touched upon regional and international issues of mutual concern and agreed to step up their cooperation at regional and international forums for peace, stability and development in the region and the world as well.

The two sides agreed to organise the seventh political consultation meeting in Myanmar next year.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Political stability is Vietnam’s advantage

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Political stability is Vietnam’s advantage

QĐND – Thursday, May 06, 2010, 21:37 (GMT+7)

Political stability has helped Vietnam to enjoy peace and prosperity

Philippe Delalande is economic and political researcher from France who deeply understands Vietnam. He once worked as director of the Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau of Francophone Inter-Government Agency in Hanoi for five years and has written many books about Vietnam.

A VOV correspondent in Paris interviewed him about Vietnam’s economy and economic co-operation between Vietnam and France.

VOV: What’s your evaluation of how Vietnam’s economy has performed over the past 20 years?

Mr Philippe: Since 1990, Vietnam’s economy has made amazing progress with annual average growth of 7.5 percent. Even when many Southeast Asian countries were damaged by the Asian economic crisis in 1997-1998, the country’s economy still kept growing. In 1999 its economic growth rate reached 4.5 percent while other Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Indonesia fell into crisis.

I think that the growth rate can be attributed to the consistent economic policy of integrating gradually into the global economy in line with the situation in Vietnam. In addition, Vietnam has maintained its macro-economic policy for 20 years, in which it has reduced public debt and the inflation rate, ensuring a balance budget and controlling the amount of currency in circulation.

VOV: You write in your books that one of Vietnam’s advantages is its political stability. Can you explain this?

Mr Philippe: Political stability is one of the main factors that has helped Vietnam pursue its economic development policy. Since 1990, most other regional countries, except Singapore, have experienced coup d’etats or political crises. Meanwhile Vietnam has achieved political stability – a factor that enable Vietnam go ahead with its renewal process.

VOV: Despite such significant achievements Vietnam is still facing a lot of challenges. What is the biggest challenge to Vietnam’s economy?

Mr Philippe: One of Vietnam’s weaknesses is its trade deficit. To deal with this, the country needs to improve its competitiveness by modernising businesses, which should have their own research and development departments to increase productivity and the quality of their products.

VOV: You are a member of the board that is organising a seminar to discuss Vietnam’s investment potential in Paris on May 5. What do you think about the prospect of economic co-operation between Vietnam and France?

Mr Philippe: In 1994-1995 when the Vietnam’s renewal process recorded many impressive results many French businesses came but felt disappointed about the cumbersome administrative procedures and finally left the country.

After the 1997-1998 economic crisis, French and European businesses left Southeast Asia for China. I hope that the seminar will encourage French businesses to return to Vietnam, especially at this time. As the when ASEAN-China free trade area already came into effect they can export their products from Vietnam to other Southeast Asian countries, even China.

VOV: Thank you very much.

Source: VOV


Source: QDND

Hopes grow for breakthrough in Thai political crisis

In Uncategorized on May 4, 2010 at 4:27 pm

BANGKOK, May 4, 2010 (AFP) – Thailand’s fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra called for reconciliation Tuesday as his supporters considered an offer by the premier to hold November elections to end a political crisis.

Leaders of the anti-government “Red Shirt” protest movement said Tuesday they were seriously considering Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s proposal, raising hopes of an end to the crippling standoff.

Hinting at a possible breakthrough in the long-running impasse between the government and his supporters, Thaksin said he hoped that “good things” would happen on Coronation Day on Wednesday, calling it an auspicious date.

“Reconciliation is good for everybody,” he said in a phone-in to a meeting of the opposition Puea Thai Party. “Today, don’t think about the past but look to the future. That is how national reconciliation will happen.”

Many of the “Red Shirt” anti-government protesters who have been staging rallies in Bangkok since mid-March are seeking the return of the telecoms tycoon-turned-politician, hailing his policies for the masses.

Leaders of the mostly poor or working-class Reds, whose rallies in Bangkok are in their eighth week, earlier gave a cautious welcome to Abhisit’s proposal but said they needed more time to discuss it.

“For the sake of the struggle for democracy, we will discuss and listen to our people who are on the frontline,” Jaran Ditha-apichai, a senior Red Shirt, said from a rally stage in the city’s commercial heart.

The movement said that it wanted to be sure the proposed roadmap had the full backing of ruling party lawmakers and their coalition partners in the government before deciding whether or not to accept it.

“We will discuss among more than 20 leaders whether or not to accept it, but initially I agree with one of the proposals — to end the deadlock in a non-violent way,” said another Red Shirt leader, Nattawut Saikuar.

A series of bloody clashes between the demonstrators and security forces in Bangkok have left 27 people dead and nearly 1,000 people injured in the country’s worst civil unrest in almost two decades.

The authorities are ready to discuss an amnesty for protest leaders, who have been defying a ban on rallies under a state of emergency in the city, according to a government source.

“The government wants to create a good climate and end the protests. Details will be discussed later. However, one of the topics that will discussed is related to an amnesty,” the source told AFP, asking not to be named.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva answers questions from the press after the weekly cabinet meeting at a military base in Bangkok on May 4, 2010. AFP photo

Abhisit said Monday his proposal to hold elections on November 14 was subject to all parties agreeing to his reconciliation roadmap.

The British-born, Oxford-educated head of the establishment Democrat Party does not have to go to the polls until the end of next year.

Some observers say that when he does face the people, his failure to connect with the rural masses means he faces a tough battle against the pro-Thaksin forces that have won every election for a decade.

Abhisit’s party came to power via a parliamentary vote in 2008 and for Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a Thailand expert at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, it will be “very difficult” for him to win an election.

“Because he represents the Bangkok elite, it’s hard to win the hearts and minds of the people in the north and northeast,” the analyst said. “Meanwhile Thaksin remains hugely popular in those regions.”

Abhisit last month rejected a compromise offer by the Reds to disperse if elections were held within three months. In March he had offered to hold elections by the end of the year but protest leaders rejected that proposal.

The Red Shirts have fortified their sprawling protest site in the city’s main shopping district with barricades made from piled-up truck tyres, razor wire and bamboo stakes.

In recent days, however, a weary air has descended on the rally area, which is strewn with garbage.

Many of the protesters have been sleeping on the streets for weeks with little or no shelter and fatigue appears to be setting in, along with the start of the rainy season, which brought heavy downpours to the capital Tuesday.

Source: SGGP