VIENTIANE: The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Laos and Thailand have begun talks on the construction of a bridge to carry a railway over the Mekong River between Vientiane, Laos and Nong Khai in Thailand.
The two leaders also discussed the extension of the cross-border rail link from Nong Khai to Vientiane (Khamsavath) train station, to promote tourism and enable easier access to the Laos-China railway.
These issues were discussed when Laos’ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith met for talks with his Thai counterpart Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara in Vientiane on Monday (Oct 30).
According to Laos’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two sides agreed to encourage each other’s related sectors to consider ways to further promote bilateral trade volume by removing existing barriers to trade and making it easier to do business.
The talks were also aimed at bolstering tourism between Laos and Thailand through use of the Vientiane (Khamsavath) train station, especially given the influx of visitors expected during Visit Laos Year 2024.
Further talks will be held on completing border demarcation, and on joint efforts to reduce air pollution in border areas caused by agricultural burning.
The two ministries will also continue to maximise each other’s potential in order to benefit economic development in their two countries.
During the talks, the government delegations of Laos and Thailand expressed their commitment to strengthening their longstanding friendship and cooperation.
They agreed to follow up on commitments and agreements made between the two sides in the past, including the 2022-26 action plan on a strategic partnership for the growth and sustainable development of the two countries.
They also agreed to put the outcomes of meetings held by the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation and the Thai-Lao Joint Boundary Commission into practice in tangible ways.
The two sides also reviewed various aspects of past cooperation in the fields of politics and security.
In past years, Laos and Thailand have partnered in economic affairs, trade and investment, bridge and road links, railway bridge construction, energy, labour, natural resources and the environment and other areas of development.
Saleumxay informed the meeting about the progress of preparations for Laos’ chairmanship of Asean next year.
He thanked the government and people of Thailand for their continuing support and assistance to Laos for socio-economic development.He also expressed the hope that Thailand will continue to provide more cooperation and support to Laos in the future, including for Laos’ Asean chairmanship.
For his part, Parnpree expressed his pleasure and gratitude at the warm welcome extended to himself and his delegation.
He promised to continue to cooperate with Laos and to encourage the relevant Thai government bodies to fulfil bilateral agreements, as well as support Laos in the future, especially during the country’s Asean chairmanship next year. -- Vientiane Times/ANN