The accusations that the London-based environmental watchdog Global Witness has made against Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) Group and Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) - heavy investors in Laos - are totally groundless, a senior official of the Lao Foreign Ministry has said.

Sithong Chitnhothinh, head of the Press Department under the Lao Foreign Ministry, made the affirmation while answering the media on June 3.

On May 13, Global Witness published on its website a report called "Rubber Barons: How Vietnamese companies and international financiers are driving a land grabbing crisis in Cambodia and Laos ". It stated that privately-owned HAGL Group and state-owned VRG acquired more than 200,000 hectares of land through a series of deals with the Lao and Cambodian Governments that lacked transparency.

During the press briefing, Sithong Chitnhothinh also expressed his strong belief that no force can ruin the special friendship, solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Laos and Vietnam.

Earlier on May 21, Pathet Lao newspaper posted an article praising the goodwill of Vietnamese businesses and investors operating in the country. It said HAGL Group has made contributions to socio-economic development in Laos by creating jobs and gradually improving living conditions for local people.-VNA