Vietnam and Laos have pledged to attach importance and give high priority to consolidating and strengthening their traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation, considering it an invaluable asset that should be preserved and transmitted to future generations.

The affirmation was made during the talks between Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Lao counterpart, Thongsing Thammavong, immediately after the Vietnamese Government leader arrived in Vientiane on Sept. 9 to begin his two-day visit to the neighbouring country.

The Lao PM spoke highly of PM Dung’s selection of Laos as his first overseas destination after he was re-elected as Prime Minister of Vietnam, considering it a vivid manifestation of the special solidarity and close and faithful relationship between Laos and Vietnam.

PM Thammavong expressed his belief that the visit will make an important contribution to further tightening the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two nations.

PM Dung highly valued the great achievements that the Lao people have made in recent years, with a stable political-security situation, high economic growth, people’s better living standards as well as the country’s improved position and prestige in the international arena.

The Vietnamese leader said he wished the Lao people would continue harvesting greater achievements during their cause of national construction and development.

The two government leaders noted with pleasure that the economic cooperation between the two countries has seen strong developments in both width and depth, bringing practical efficiency to each country.

They agreed to speed up the implementation of trade and investment cooperation agreements in an effort to attain 2 billion USD in two-way trade by 2015.

Host and guest also agreed to continue close cooperation in all fields, including security, defence, culture, education, transport, energy, labour, healthcare, agriculture and rural development.

The two sides will speed up the implementation of a project to plant more and upgrade Vietnam - Laos border markers and another to improve the quality and efficiency of Vietnam - Laos cooperation.

The two sides agreed to entrust the two Foreign Ministries to discuss practical measures to organise activities celebrating the Year of Vietnam - Laos Friendship and Solidarity in 2012.

They also agreed to continue close and effective coordination at regional and international forums such as the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and advocate the settlement of disputes in the East Sea through peaceful solutions on the foundation of the Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

PM Dung affirmed that Vietnam will continue support for Laos in its bid to become a World Trade Organisation member and in successfully organising the 9th ASEM Summit in late 2012.

While meeting with Lao Party General Secretary and State President Chummaly Sayasone in Vientiane the same day, PM Dung expressed his delight at recent fine developments of traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

The Vietnamese Government will do its best and closely coordinate with the Lao Government to further deepen the two countries’ traditional friendship, bringing practical benefits to the two peoples and effectively implementing cooperation agreements approved by the two Political Bureaus, said the PM.

He also informed the host of the results of talks with his Lao counterpart Thongsing Thammavong, saying that the two sides reached consensus on orientations and measures to boost bilateral all-around cooperation, especially in economics, trade and investment, and to bring two-way trade to 2 billion USD by 2015.

The PM affirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy of special attachment and prioritise the consolidation and enhancement of traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation with Laos, considering it an invaluable asset of the two peoples that need to be passed to future generations of the two countries.

General Secretary and State President Chummaly Sayasone described PM Dung’s visit as an important event to promote traditional friendship, special solidarity and the loyal pure attachment between Vietnam and Laos.

The Lao Party, State and people will exert their utmost to join the Vietnamese Party, State and people to bring traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries to a new height, said the Lao leader.

In the immediate term, the two governments will coordinate to prepare for activities of the Year of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship and Solidarity, to make 2012 a milestone in Vietnam-Laos relations.

In another meeting with Lao National Assembly President Pany Yathotu, PM Dung expressed his delight at the achievements in Laos’ recent socio-economic development and said the two countries’ cooperation has been carried out effectively and practically in all fields, such as politics, foreign affairs, defence, security, trade and investment.

NA President Pany Yathotu said the Lao Party and State believe that PM Dung will continue to foster the Vietnam-Laos traditional friendly relationship.

On the afternoon of Sept. 9, PM Dung and his entourage paid a floral tribute at the Monument of Unknown Martyrs and attended the opening of a representative office of the Bank for Investment and Development (BIDV) in Vientiane.

Talking with the staff of the Vietnamese Embassy and Overseas Vietnamese (OV) in Laos on the evening of Sept. 9, PM Dung commended the staff on their contributions to promoting the development of the Vietnam-Laos comprehensive cooperation.

He highlighted the active participation of more than 22,000 OV in supporting flood victims and charitable activities in Vietnam.

The PM said he hoped the staff and OV will continue abiding by the resident country’s policies and bring into play the role of a friendship bridge in promoting the Vietnam-Laos special cooperation.

There are around 3.5 million OV living in over 100 countries and territories worldwide, he said, affirming that the Party and State always consider OVs as an inseparable part of the nation.

President of the Vietnamese People Association in Laos Hoang Dieu expressed the hope that the Government will facilitate a resident permit policy for OVs and put forward commendations to OVs who make active contributions to foster the Vietnam-Laos comprehensive cooperation.

Also in the evening, Lao PM Thongsing Thammavong hosted a banquet in honour of PM Dung, his wife and entourage./.