Vietnam ’s Sate, National Assembly and Government leaders met separately in Hanoi on August 8 with Lao Party General Secretary and State President Choummaly Sayasone.

In his reception, President Truong Tan Sang described Choummaly Sayasone’s choice of Vietnam for the first overseas visit in his new term of office as a vivid manifestation of the traditional friendship and special, close and faithful solidarity between the two Parties, States and people of Vietnam and Laos.

He also stressed the significance of the special ties for the present situation and future of each country.

In 2012, Vietnam and Laos will celebrate the 50 th anniversary of establishment of their diplomatic ties and the 35 th anniversary of signing the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation, as well as the “Year of Vietnam-Laos Friendship and Solidarity”, President Sang said.

This was an opportunity for both countries to educate cadres and people, especially the youth, to further increase the Vietnam-Laos special solidarity and promote comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties, States and people, he added.

Vietnam would closely coordinate with Laos and support the neighbouring country to successfully organise the ninth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in 2012, the President said.

Lao Party General Secretary and State President Choummaly Sayasone affirmed the Lao Party, State and people would spare no effort to join the Party, State and people of Vietnam to lift the bilateral traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation to a new height.

The visiting Lao leader took the opportunity to invite President Truong Tan Sang to pay an official friendly visit to Laos soon.

On the same day, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung separately met with Lao Party General Secretary and State President Choummaly Sayasone, describing the Lao leader’s current visit to Vietnam as an important event to boost the traditional close, faithful and pure friendship, and the special solidarity between the two countries./.