President Truong Tan Sang arrived in Vientiane on Feb. 9, beginning his three-day official visit to Laos at the invitation of Lao Party General Secretary and State President Choummaly Sayasone.

The visit is the first to Laos by Sang as the State President of Vietnam and the first event in a series of activities celebrating the Year of Vietnam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship 2012.

After a solemn welcoming ceremony in the Presidential Palace, President Sang held talks with Party General Secretary and President Choummaly Sayasone.

The Lao leader applauded the Vietnamese delegation’s visit, saying it will help bring the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos to a new height.

The two sides made a commitment to give every priority to consolidating and strengthening that relationship, considering it an invaluable asset that should be preserved and passed to future generations.

They agreed to raise two-way trade to 1 billion USD in 2012 and 2 billion USD in 2015.

After the talks, the two leaders attended a press conference to launch the Year of Vietnam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship.

They witnessed the signing of several documents on cooperative activities, including a cooperation plan in 2012 between the two education ministries, a protocol on training cooperation between the two governments, and a contract on long and medium-term credit worth 50 million USD between the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade and the Lao Central Bank./.