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Laos, Hungary raise bilateral ties to strategic partnership

Visiting Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban have agreed to elevate bilateral relations between Laos and Hungary to a strategic partnership.
The Lao premier and his delegation made a three-day official visit to Hungary from March 10-12 at the invitation of Mr Orban.

The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the prime minister’s first official trip to Hungary since taking office in 2016 was historically significant in strengthening the friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries.
During talks on Monday at the Prime Minister’s Office, the heads of the two governments said they highly valued the traditional friendly relations and cooperation between their countries.
Laos and Hungary, which established diplomatic ties on September 12, 1962, have extended mutual assistance and support through both bilateral and multilateral cooperation frameworks.
Agreeing to lift their bilateral ties to a strategic partnership, both sides said they would arrange reciprocal visits at various levels and involving different sectors.
The two sides agreed to continue cooperation in the fields of economics, trade, investment, education, agriculture, and finance, among others.
The prime ministers also agreed to hold political consultations on a regular basis, to enhance bilateral ties.
From 2019 onwards, the government of Hungary will double the number of scholarships it offers Lao nationals from 50 to 100 a year, for courses at Hungarian universities. Currently, 86 Lao nationals are enrolled in master’s and doctorate programmes in Hungary.
Mr Thongloun expressed heartfelt gratitude for the invaluable assistance extended by the government and people of Hungary to Laos during the country’s fight for national liberation, as well as continued assistance for the protection and development of Laos.
He particularly thanked the government of Hungary for extending assistance in human resource development and financial aid via the Tied Aid Credit scheme. Financial assistance via this scheme has amounted to US$198.6 million.
Hungary agreed to increase the amount of credit for Laos in the future, the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, but the precise amount was not disclosed.
The ministry said Hungary’s financial assistance has contributed significantly to Laos’ socio-economic development.
The two prime ministers pledged to work together in realising bilateral cooperation projects with fruitful outcomes.
Hungary, whose embassy to Laos is based in Bangkok, Thailand, will open a representative office in Vientiane in the near future to support and promote bilateral relations and cooperation.
Both sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest.
They signed two agreements – one on waiving the visa requirement for the holders of diplomatic and official passports, and the other a document on education cooperation from 2020-2022.
Mr Thongloun issued an invitation to Mr Orban to pay an official visit to Laos at a convenient time, which Mr Orban accepted.
Premier Thongloun and his delegation also visited Hungarian President Janos Ader.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 13, 2019)

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