Vietnam ready to boost Vatican relations

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Vietnam's President Nguyen Minh Triet vowed to boost relations with the Vatican during his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI Friday, local media reported.

"Vietnam is ready to boost relations with the Vatican on the basis of respecting fundamental principles of international law, thus making an active contribution to peace, cooperation and development the world over," Triet was quoted as saying by Vietnam News Agency.

The Vatican called Friday's meeting in Rome between Triet and the Pontiff a "significant stage in the progress of bilateral relations" and expressed its pleasure at the visit.

In a communiqué, it added the Vatican hoped "outstanding questions may be resolved as soon as possible."

Vietnam has Southeast Asia's largest Roman Catholic community after the Philippines -- about six million in a population of 86 million.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung made a historic visit to the Vatican in 2007, marking a major thaw in relations following a series of trips to Vietnam by Vatican delegations from 1969.

Early this year a senior Vatican official held the first formal meetings with Vietnamese authorities in Hanoi to discuss diplomatic ties.

Triet's Vatican stop is part of a European tour including Italy, Spain and Slovakia.

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