The Vietnam-Laos Friendship and Solidarity Year 2012 is a success, affirmed Vietnamese and Lao top leaders at a press conference in Hanoi on December 26.

The conference was co-chaired by President Truong Tan Sang and visiting General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) and President of Laos Choummaly Sayasone.

President Sang said that over the past year, Vietnam and Laos have closely coordinated in organising a wide range of activities that drew the participation of agencies at all levels and people from all strata in both countries.

Grand meetings were held in each country’s capital city to mark the 50 th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties and 35 years of the signing of their Friendship and Cooperation Treaty.

Vietnam hosted the third Vietnam-Laos People’s Friendship Festival while Laos ’ Savannakhet province also organised a meeting celebrating the Vietnam-Laos special relationship and combatant alliance.

Ministries, agencies and localities, especially those along the border, coordinated in organising many practical activities during the year.

The two countries’ people enthusiastically took part in a contest on the history of the Vietnam-Laos, Laos-Vietnam special relationship, reflecting their aspiration and determination to preserving and fostering the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two nations.

President Sang also highlighted bilateral economic cooperation in 2012, with two-way trade estimated at nearly 1 billion USD. At present, Vietnam has 440 projects in Laos with a total investment of 5.38 billion USD, becoming one of the largest among 58 investors in Laos .

In education and training, close to 6,500 Lao officials and students are studying in Vietnam while about 500 Vietnamese students are pursuing their study in Laos .

“2012 was a significant year in the social and political life of the two peoples as well as an important milestone in the Vietnam-Laos relation, helping young generations better understand the close and faithful attachment between the two countries,” the president said.

He stressed that the results and spirit of the year will be an important momentum for lifting the special relationship between the two Parties, States and peoples to a new height, in the interest of the two countries’ people as well as for peace and prosperous development in the region.

President Sayasone said that the Friendship and Solidarity Year has wrapped up but the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties, States and peoples will exist forever.

Despite any changes in regional and world situation, the Lao Party and State leaders and people will continue to join their Vietnamese counterparts to preserve that special relation, considering it an invaluable asset and a rule of existence and development of the two nations as well as an inexhaustible source of encouragement on their development paths, he stressed./.VNA