The Vietnamese Government has awarded distinctions to 892 Lao individuals and 473 collectives for their efforts in searching for and repatriating the remains of volunteer Vietnamese soldiers to their homeland.

The award ceremony, held in Lao capital Vientiane on June 17, saw the presence of Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sen. Lt. Gen. Douangchay Phichith and Director of the General Politics Department of the Lao People’s Army Lt. Gen. Sengneun Saynhalath, among others.

Deputy Minister of National Defence Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Thanh Cung, who heads the Vietnamese Government’s Special Mission thanked Laos’ Government and people for their support for the work and presented these distinctions to the Lao officials and collectives.

Since the two Governments of Vietnam and Laos signed an agreement on researching, collecting and repatriating volunteer Vietnamese soldiers and experts fallen in Laos in 1994, the remains of 16,400 of these martyrs have been found. During the 2012-2013 dry season, 413 sets of remains were collected.

Lao Deputy Defence Minister cum Head of the Lao Government’s Special Mission Sen. Lt. Gen Chansamone Channhalath affirmed the importance of the search and repatriation of the remains of volunteer Vietnamese soldiers and experts to the Lao Government and people.

This is an action to reciprocate Vietnamese soldiers’ sacrifice for the freedom and independence of Lao people, he said.

The States and defence ministries of the two countries will do their utmost to bring the remains of Vietnamese soldiers to their homeland.

The same day, the two Special Missions signed the minutes of the 18 th meeting on the 2013-2014 cooperation in locating, collecting and repatriating the remains of volunteer soldiers who laid down their lives in Laos during wartime.

There are still nearly 1,000 cases of fallen Vietnamese martyrs in Laos waiting to be brought home.-VNA