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Laos, Australia enhance relations, cooperation

Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne is paying an official visit to the Lao PDR in response to the invitation of her Lao counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith.

The two-day visit, Feb 24-25, aimed to enhance the friendly relations and sound cooperation between Laos and Australia and celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The visiting minister met with her counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith on Thursday.

The two ministers highly valued the sound and unbreakable relations between the two countries over the past 70 years.

They also reviewed the cooperation over the past years and discussed plans for years to come, including Australia’s support for Covid-19 response, human resource development, defense, trade and investment, infrastructure, agriculture, unexploded ordnance – UXOs – in the Lao PDR.

Both sides expressed their commitment to work together under ASEAN framework as the Lao PDR has been designated as ASEAN-Australia coordinator for the 2021-2024 period.

Australia pledged to support Laos’ preparation for its ASEAN Presidency in 2024.

The ministers also discussed regional and international issues of common interest.

Minister Payne also paid a courtesy call to Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh where she reaffirmed Australia’s support for cooperation projects in the Lao PDR.

Prime Minister Phankham highly valued the visit by the Australian minister as a landmark in strengthening cooperation between Laos and Australia in the future, and asked Australia to assist Laos in implementing its 9th five-year National Socio-economic Development Plan (2021-2025), and the two national agendas – addressing economic and financial difficulties and tackling drugs issues.

The premier also asked the Australian government to consider importing labour from the Lao PDR.

On Friday, the last day of her visit to Laos, Minister Payne also gave a lecture on the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Laos-Australia diplomatic relations in the presence of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Phoxay Khaykhamphithoune, Australian Ambassador to the Lao PDR Paul Kelly, representatives from Party Central Committee Commission for External Relations, Party Central Committee Propaganda and Training Board, and the National Academy of Politics and Public Administration.

Laos and Australia have agreed in principle to upgrade their relations to a comprehensive partnership.

Source: Lao News Agency