70th Anniversary of Laos-France Treaty of Friendship and Association celebration launched

This edition of the French national day marked the 70th anniversary of the France-Laos Treaty of Friendship and Association, a long-standing partnership Ambassador Siv-Leng Chhuor described as “ambitious, respectful, pragmatic, and forward-looking.”

The embassy would like to thank the Lao authorities for celebrating this important event with us at the French Residence, along with the dynamic French community in Laos and Laotian friends.

On this occasion, the Ambassador along with Health Minister Phoummalaysith and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Phandanouvong unveiled the logo launching a series of events celebrating the 70th anniversary over the rest of 2023, including the Fashion Week, official visits, events dedicated to heritage, health, education, and investment, and an official reception around October 22nd.

Ambassador Chhuor stated that France is a balancing power defending effective multilateralism, offering its partners to build a fairer world together through flexible coalitions. Ahead of Laos’s ASEAN presidency, France reaffirms its support as a genuine development partner of ASEAN and its member states, an organisation at the heart of France’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

Our community is strong with over 2,000 French people settled in Laos, enhancing our bilateral relationship through their dynamism and integration. France is the leading European investor in Laos, where its entrepreneurs develop high-quality projects contributing to the country’s development, like EDF/NTPC, BFL, Agroforex, Savan Logistics, to name a few. As the Ambassador stated, “environmental and social responsibility is part of their DNA”, as for France’s cooperation projects in sustainable development, biodiversity, education and Francophonie, health, and heritage over the years.

In 2023, French Development Agency AFD will celebrate 30 years of presence in Laos, amounting to USD 300 million invested in many projects supporting cultural heritage, water management, health, and agro-ecology, helping Laos to build a sustainable and inclusive development.

“France is a great power of solidarity,” the Ambassador highlighted, by doubling food aid to €1 million in 2023, and offering 600,000 vaccine doses to Laos during the Covid-19 pandemic. Health is a priority, and France is proud that Laos has joined the PREZODE (Preventing Zoonotic Disease Emergence) initiative, which will enable it to benefit from the €3 million of AFD’s regional program.

Education stays a priority sector for France, and over the past 10 years, it has invested €5 million in education in Laos. Through the Lao-French bilingual schooling system, Laotian students are learning French as a language of the future, providing access to globalisation and employment. Thanks to our scholarships and partnerships with universities, more Laotian students can study in France to acquire new skills, expanding our alumni network to around 5,000 people.

Our cultural ties are growing stronger thanks to the Institut français, which offers rich and diverse cultural events promoting Laotian and French creativity. Every year, it organises 100 events gathering people around cinema, music, visual arts, or debates.

Ambassador Chhuor concluded this special Bastille Day celebration by quoting the Olympic motto about going “Faster, higher, stronger – together”. It is the same Olympic spirit that should drive the bilateral relationship between France and Laos.

Source: Lao News Agency