VIENTIANE, Sept 14 (The Vientiane Times/ANN): Political ties between Laos and Hungary have been elevated to a higher level, enabling Hungarian companies to carry out nine projects in Laos with a value of almost US$200 million.
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó made the statement during an official visit to Laos recently.
We have been implementing all together nine investment projects under the framework of a tied aid programme to the extent of US$200 million, ” he told the media during an interview to outline the purpose of his visit to Laos.
“Six projects are in the field of agriculture, two are in the field of water management, and one project is in the field of digitalisation and electronic public administration.”
“We are proud that Hungarian companies are contributing to the socio-economic development of Laos in many ways, ” he said.
Following his arrival in Vientiane, Szijjártó met with his Lao counterpart, Saleumxay Kommasith. The two sides have vowed to deepen their cooperation and friendship after Laos and Hungary elevated their political ties to the level of a strategic partnership last year.
During the visit, agreements on statistics and education cooperation were signed on Friday, reflecting the continuing growth of Laos-Hungary relations.
Szijjarto told the media that from the perspective of economic planning, it was very important to modernise the statistics system to better serve Laos’ development needs. The digitalisation of Lao statistical agencies will take place under the framework of the tied aid programme.
Concerning cooperation in education, the two sides agreed to extend the number of faculties to cover the fields of agriculture, water management and environmental protection, so that more Lao students can apply to study these subjects.
From 2019 onwards, the Hungarian government is doubling the number of scholarships it offers Lao nationals from 50 to 100 annually, so that more can study at Hungarian universities.
“We consider people-to-people contacts extremely important when it comes to bilateral relations between countries so far away from each other. The contribution that those people make to our relationship is very valuable, particularly those who have graduated from Hungarian universities in recent decades, ” Szijjártó said.
“Several high-ranking officials in the current Lao government have graduated from Hungarian universities. They speak Hungarian and are well informed about Hungarian culture. This is of huge value when it comes to bilateral relations. That’s why we have increased the number of scholarships to 100 annually.”
During their meeting, the two foreign ministers said they highly valued the development of the longstanding cooperative relations after the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1962 and elevated it to the level of a strategic partnership in 2019.
The two sides also appreciated the fruitful cooperation under the tied aid programme. The ministers discussed ways to extend cooperation in the areas of education, finance and health, and touched upon regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Mr Saleumxay thanked the government and people of Hungary for supporting Laos’ socio-economic development through the tied aid programme and helping Laos to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Mr Szijjártó called on Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and held talks with other Lao government leaders including Minister of Industry and Commerce Ms Khemmani Pholsena, to further discus cooperation.
In addition, an office of the Hungarian Embassy in Bangkok opened in Vientiane on Friday, with the opening attended by Mr Saleumxay, Mr Szijjártó and other senior officials from both sides. - Vientiane Times/Asian News Network
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