- Politics

February 10 – The “Diplomatic Service Day” in Russia

The “Diplomatic Service Day” is a professional holiday celebrated in Russia and by diplomatic missions abroad. During the present challenging times when the whole system of international relations undergone drastic changes, when we are witnessing the attacks at the UN Charter and international law with proposals to replace them with so called “rules” the role of diplomacy and diplomatic service is increasing significantly, especially in promoting peace and security and enhancing bilateral cooperation with foreign partners.

The “Diplomatic Service Day” was instituted by the Russian President’s Decree in October 2002. Nevertheless, the Russian diplomatic service has a long history – the first reference to the Russian foreign policy agency called the “Ambassadorial Order” (“Posolsky Prikaz”) was made in Russian chronicles in 1549. Since then the diplomatic service received an official status in our country. Later on, the Order was transformed first into the “Collegium of Foreign Affairs” and then – into the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire”. After the October Revolution (1917) the Ministry was transformed into the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and was renamed to – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs again in 1946. At present, the Russian Federation maintains diplomatic relations with more than 190 countries and the Russian Foreign Ministry has more than 10,000 employees.

The priorities of the Russian MFA, embassies and permanent representations are to create favorable foreign policy conditions for the sustainable socio-economic development of Russia, and to protect the rights of Russian citizens and compatriots abroad. Our diplomacy is working to build a truly equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with all counterparties. We strive to defend the key role of the UN, to consolidate the international community in the fight against the threat of terrorism, and to strengthen the foundations of strategic stability and non-proliferation regimes for weapons of mass destruction.

It is pleasure to note that over the past years with the efforts of the Russian diplomats working in Laos the mutually beneficial cooperation with the Lao PDR – our reliable partner and close friend for more than 60 years – has been strengthened and enhanced. The similar or close approaches to the global and regional issues allow our countries to cooperate successfully on the international arena, within the United Nations in the first place.

Despite the existing impediments in the post-pandemic period the Russian-Lao bilateral relations have been developing steadily during past years. Both sides hold high level political contacts on the regular basis. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister of the Lao PDR Saleumxay Kommasith, met and had fruitful talks in August (Phnom Penh), September (New York) and November (Phnom Penh). In July last year the XVI Meeting of the Russian-Lao Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic Scientific and Technological Cooperation was successfully held in online-format dedicated to the current situation and prospects of development of the Russian-Lao trade and economic cooperation in the spheres of new technologies, innovations, power industry, use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, medicine, tourism, air communication, interbank interaction and other spheres, which we hope will assist Laos to graduate steadily from the category of the least developed countries. In December the joint antiterrorist drills “LAROS-2022” took place in Laos. The same month during the visit of Russian-Lao Friendship Society delegation to Vientiane and Xiang Khuang province the monuments to the Soviet pilots who gave their lives during the Indochina War were opened in solemn ceremonies.

Both our countries traditionally develop cooperation in different fields. Over the past years Russia has been implementing a number of projects in the Lao PDR in the spheres of public health, human resources, professional skills development and UXO clearance.

Since 2018 the Russian side has donated funds aimed at provision of the humanitarian aid to Laos including the delivery of 300 tonnes of vegetable oil following the partnership between the Russian Federation and the WFP. The Russian Federation has been also supporting the WFP project “Food for assets” Programme, in the framework of which a number of infrastructure projects were completed in the flood-hit provinces of Laos. The project proved to be very helpful for almost 28,000 Lao people. Last year Russia provided finical assistance to WFP National School Meals Programme aimed to support 140,000 students in Laos.

Last year the Russian side resumed the renovation project of the Lao-Soviet “Mittaphab” Hospital in Vientiane in cooperation with the UNOPS. Within the project the Russian side has allocated funds through UNOPS for design, construction and capacity building aiming to contribute to the development of health care infrastructure in Laos.

Special attention is paid to UXO clearance carried out by the Mine Action Centre of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation since 2018. Russian demining teams worked in Borikhamxay, Xieng Khuang, Huaphan provinces and have recently started the 5th stage of the clearance in Khammuan province. We consider this direction to be of special significance for Laos in terms of supporting local livelihoods and rural development.

Our relations in the cultural and educational spheres continue to develop steadily, supported by the diplomatic stuff of the Embassy and the Russian Scientific and Cultural centre in Vientiane. The Government of the Russian Federation has increased the quota for Lao students studying in Russian Universities to – 100. We contribute to establishment of direct cooperation in education, especially between the Lao universities and the Russian universities in Vladivostok, Tomsk and Kaluga. Russian scientists in cooperation with Lao partners during the expeditions in the jungles of Laos discovered new species of plants, insects and reptiles. Special attention is payed to the promotion of ties in tourism which we hope will be given a boost by the first direct flight between Vientiane and Vladivostok launched in October 2022. In the near future we plan to enhance and deepen further cooperation with Laos.

Summing up, on the National Diplomatic Service Day I would like to reassure our Lao friends that the Russian side will do its utmost to implement all our plans and projects in the interest of promoting the Russian-Lao ties.

Source: Lao News Agency