A photo exhibition opened yesterday at the National Culture Hall in Vientiane, depicting the history and growth of the Laos-Russia relationship over the past 50 years.
More than 60 photos capturing the two countries' top leaders during exchange visits and formal diplomatic activities from the earliest days of bilateral cooperation to the present time are on display.
Photos of cooperation treaties, agreements and memorandums of understanding, along with traditional art performances and sporting activities also form part of the event.
The exhibition and related activities mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Laos and Russia on October 7.
Deputy Minister of Information and Culture, Professor Dr Bosengkham Vongdara, and Russian diplomats addressed the opening ceremony of the event, which was attended by hundreds of government officials, representatives from the Russian Embassy to Laos, and students.
The establishment of diplomatic ties between Laos and Russia was an important milestone in the history of traditional friendly relations based on mutual understanding and assistance, the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.
The two countries have enjoyed sound relations since the early stage of bilateral ties, when the people of the then Soviet Union extended valuable assistance to Laos to facilitate its struggle for national independence and liberty.
After the Lao People's Democratic Republic was proclaimed on December 2, 1975, the people and government of the Soviet Union continued to extend assistance to Laos.
“Such assistance has laid the foundation for the human resources used in Laos' current construction and development efforts,” the press release said.
“The Lao government and people are very proud to see the tradition of friendly relations and effective cooperation continue over the past 50 years.”
In political matters, both nations share common views on several issues and extend support to each other in the international arena.
“Although the international situation is continually changing, the Lao government and people have always considered the Soviet Union and Russia as a close friend of the Lao people,” the press said.
The valuable assistance from the Soviet Union extended to the Lao revolution is ‘unforgettable,' the ministry's press release said.
The two countries have maintained regular contact and exchange visits between leaders and officials at various levels, including an official visit by then Lao Prime Minister Mr Bounnhang Vorachit to Russia in 2003.
Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Thongloun Sisoulith visited Russia in 2007 and 2009. President of the Lao National Assembly Mr Thongsing Thammavong also visited Russia this year.
Russian leaders that have visited Laos include Foreign Minister Mr Sergey Lavrov, who paid working and official visits to Laos in 2004, 2005 and this year.
Russia ranks as the 13th largest foreign investor in Laos. As of 2009, Russia had invested in 12 projects, worth US$52 million, in the mining, hydropower, services, industry and handicraft sectors.
At present, more than 100 Lao students are studying in Russia.
In addition, both sides are working together to open a Russian information and cultural centre in Vientiane to promote people-to-people learning and exchanges of information.
The Lao government and people are delighted to see the people of Russia are making progress in national development and Russia's status is growing in the regional and international arenas, contributing to the creation of regional and global peace and stability.