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NA leader holds talks with Lao counterpart

NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and his host counterpart Saysomphone Phomvihan on May 16 held talks following an official welcome ceremony for the former. Hue is now in Laos on an official visit.

The Lao leader spoke highly of the significance of the visit, the first by a key Vietnamese leader to Laos in the "Year of Solidarity and Friendship" between Viethnam and Laos. The year 2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the 45th anniversary of the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation.

This is also the highest-level delegation of a foreign National Assembly to visit Laos since the success of the 11th Congress of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the beginning of the 9th National Assembly term of Laos.

For his part, National Assembly Chairman Hue congratulated the Lao Party, State and people for the great and comprehensive achievements they have achieved over the years, including the very important contributions by the Lao National Assembly.

He affirmed that Vietnam always wholeheartedly supports and accompanies Laos to overcome all difficulties and challenges, continue to develop sustainably, and have an increasing role and position in the international arena.

The two leaders emphasised that, in the face of current complicated developments in the international and regional situation, Vietnam and Laos clearly see the value of maintaining and cultivating the close, loyal and unique neighbourly relationship for the security and development of both.

The two National Assembly Chairmen expressed their delight at the good development of the cooperative relationship between the two countries and the two National Assemblies. Overcoming difficulties and obstacles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic recently, the two sides have made joint efforts to maintain regular visits, high-level contacts and bilateral cooperation mechanisms on all channels.

Even in the context of the pandemic, the two sides still maintained the momentum of trade and investment development. Two-way trade turnover in the first four months of 2022 reached 558.2 million USD, an increase of 20.2 percent over the same period in 2021. Vietnam maintains its position as the third-largest direct investor in Laos, with 214 valid projects and a total registered capital of about 5.33 billion USD.

The two sides agreed to work together to effectively implement the agreements and outcomes of the recent high-level visits, including the Strategic Agreement on Cooperation between Vietnam and Laos for the 2021-2030 period and the agreement on bilateral co-operation between the two countries in the period of 2021-2025.

They also agreed to continue strengthening cooperation in defence, security and border issues to effectively deal with traditional and non-traditional security challenges; improving the efficiency of education-training cooperation and develop high-quality human resources; strengthening cooperation between localities, people-to-people exchanges, and creating more favourable conditions for citizens, nationals and businesses of each country to live, study and do business in each other's territory and promote trade and investment cooperation.

Regarding the direction of cooperation in the future, the two sides agreed to promote the exchange of delegations and contacts between the leaders of the National Assembly and between committees of the National Assemblies of the two countries, the Friendship Parliamentary Groups, the Women's National Assembly Deputies Groups and the Groups of young National Assembly deputies.

The two sides agreed to continue their tradition of close coordination and mutual support at international, regional and Mekong sub-regional forums, including inter-parliamentary forums such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (AIPA), the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) and the Francophone Parliamentary Union (APF).

After the talks, the two leaders signed a cooperation agreement between the National Assembly of Vietnam and the National Assembly of Laos for the 2022-2026 period; witnessed the signing and exchange of a number of cooperation documents, including the Cooperation Agreement between the Office of the National Assembly of Vietnam and the Office of the National Assembly of Laos and the working minutes on electricity purchase from Laos.

At the meeting, National Assembly Chairman Hue announced the presentation of computers, projectors and cameras to the Lao National Assembly Secretariat; and computers, books, and some teaching equipment to the Champasak Provincial Boarding School, the Friendship School and the Vietnamese Association in four southern provinces of Laos./.