The people of Laos and Russia are proud of their growing bilateral relations, especially as the two countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties (October 7, 1960-Oct 7, 2010).
Hundreds of people from all walks of life and the Russian community in Vientiane yesterday gathered to celebrate the diplomatic birthday in a grand event held at the National Culture Hall in Vientiane.
Vice President Bounnhang Vorachit, Russian Ambassador to Laos Oleg V. Kabanov and high-ranking officials from both sides attended the afternoon event.
The presidents of the Lao-Russian and Russian-Lao Friendship Associations recounted with great appreciation the tradition of longstanding friendly relations and cooperation between both nations, particularly the assistance extended by the Soviet Union in support of the revolutionary task of the Lao people.
“Today, we are very honoured and proud to attend this grand meeting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties. This is an important day in the history of friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries and peoples,” said President of the Lao-Russian Friendship Association, Mr Sommath Pholsena.
He represented the Lao government and people in expressing hearty congratulations and best wishes to the government and people of Russia on this occasion.
Mr Sommath, who is also Minister of Public Works and Transport, spoke highly of the effective and valuable assistance and support the Party, government and people of the Soviet Union have extended to Laos.
“Since diplomatic ties were established, the Soviet Union has extended continuous effective assistance and support to the revolutionary task of the Lao people against colonialism. The Lao people were eventually victorious and proclaimed the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) on December 2, 1975,” he told the audience.
After the establishment of the Lao PDR, the Soviet Union continued to provide assistance to the construction and development of the Lao PDR in all core areas.
The Soviet Union has provided assistance in socio-economic infrastructure development and for culture and human resource development, particularly in the early stages after the nation achieved liberation and was laying solid foundations for national development, Mr Sommath said.
Mr Sommath referred to the Soviet Union as a “trusted, reliable and helpful friend” of the Lao people and reiterated that the Lao government and people always appreciate the valuable and effective assistance extended by the Soviet Union (present-day Federation of Russia) to Laos.
“The Lao government and people are very proud to see the tradition of friendly relations and effective cooperation has continued to grow over the past 50 years,” he said.
He reaffirmed that Lao people would exert their utmost efforts to work together with the people of Russia to strengthen further the tradition of friendly relations and sound cooperation between the Lao PDR and the Russian Federation for the further benefit and prosperity of the two peoples.
Laos and Russia have maintained regular contact and exchange visits between leaders and officials at various levels, including a visit by Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Thongloun Sisoulith in 2009. President of the Lao National Assembly Thongsing Thammavong also visited Russis this year.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov paid an official visit to Laos in July this year.
For his part, President of the Russian-Lao Friendship Association, Mr Vladimir Sokolin, who arrived in Vientiane yesterday to celebrate the anniversary, also spoke highly of the two nations' relations.
“It is true we are longstanding close friends,” he told the audience through an interpreter. “For Russia, Laos is a strategic partner in southeast Asia.”
He said Russians are very proud of their country for having fully supported Laos.
“On behalf of the association, we have a strong interest in supporting the further development of our longstanding relations.”
Joint cooperation commissions are currently working in the areas of economics, trade, science and technology between the two governments, to expand bilateral cooperation.
“All the necessary conditions to facilitate Russian-Lao cooperation have been created,” Mr Sokolin said.
He congratulated and extended sincere wishes to the Lao government, friends and people on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties and said activities to celebrate this special event have also been organised in Russia. These include a photo exhibition and other friendship events.