Vietnam and Laos have signed an agreement on strengthening cooperation in ethnic affairs for the period 2012-2020.

The agreement was inked by Chairman of the Vietnamese Government’s Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) Giang Seo Phu and visiting President of the Lao Front for National Construction (LFNC) Central Committee Phanduongchit Vongsa in Hanoi on August 13.

Under the agreement, the two sides will exchange experience in building and implementing ethnic minority policies, scientific research and cultural exchanges as well as training human resources in this field.

They will discuss the implementation of socio-economic development programmes, focusing on poverty reduction in areas inhabited by ethnic minority people.

On the occasion, the LFNC leader presented Laos ’ orders and medals to former and current leaders of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF). This move aimed to honour these officials for their contributions to the Vietnam-Laos special friendship and comprehensive cooperation.

Vongsa presented the Freedom Order (Issara Order), first class, to President of the VFF Central Committee Huynh Dam, and the Freedom Order, second class, to Vice President and Secretary General of the VFF Central Committee Vu Trong Kim, who is also President of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association.

Eleven current officials and former leaders of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee were awarded with the Freedom Order, third class, and six received the Labour Order, second class. Thirty one others were presented with the insignia marking the 60 th anniversary of the LFCN.-VNA