Vietnam denies adviser deal with Tony Blair

Vietnam has not closed any consulting deal with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed

Tony Blair (L), former British Prime Minister, is seen shaking hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi. Picture taken October 15, 2012.

Vietnam has yet to sign any agreement with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to name him adviser to the government, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Tuoi Tre on Wednesday.

This confirmation followed reports of such a deal by British newspaper The Telegraph, which said Sunday that Mr. Blair clinched a deal to advise the Vietnamese government on “economic and trade links with the UK and the European Union.”

The deal was inked after “Mr. Blair flew to Hanoi on two separate occasions” in March this year and October last year “for talks with Nguyen Tan Dung, the Vietnamese prime minister,” The Telegraph said.

The foreign ministry said it is discussing with Mr. Blair’s office “a form of cooperation” whereby the former British Prime Minister will give advice on Vietnam’s socio-economic development policy.

But the two sides have not entered into any pact, the ministry asserted.

A ministry representative added that Vietnam welcomes consultation and opinions from the international community at all times.

“Vietnam always places an emphasis on consulting prestigious international organizations, experts, and scholars when the country is striving for its socio-economic development goals,” the representative said.

The Telegraph also reported that Mr. Blair has signed contracts to advise the governments of Colombia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, and Peru.

He is expected to conclude similar agreements with Thailand and Hong Kong “by the end of the year,” the British newspaper said.

Tony Blair is the Labour Party’s longest-serving Prime Minister. He was in power from 1997 to 2007 before being succeeded by Gordon Brown.

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