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Hungary opens embassy in Vientiane

The government of Hungary on Friday re-opened its embassy in Vientiane, making it the fourth European Union (EU) member after France, Germany and Luxembourg to have embassies in the Lao capital.
Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, and Laos’ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saleumxay Kommasith, cut a ribbon to officially open the embassy, which is located on the fifth floor of the Royal Square building next to the Crowne Plaza Vientiane on Samsenthai Road.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith (left) and Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó cut a ribbon to reopen the Hungarian Embassy in Vientiane.

The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press statement that the reopening of the embassy symbolises the Lao and Hungarian governments’ shared desire to further enhance their strong diplomatic relationship, which was established more than six decades ago.
The opening of the embassy “shows very clearly the significance we attach to this relationship [Lao-Hungarian relationship],” Minister Szijjártó told the media after the opening of the embassy.
Laos reopened its embassy in Budapest in 2022, just four years after the two countries elevated their ties to a strategic partnership.
Earlier in the day, Mr Saleumxay and his Hungarian counterpart met for talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vientiane.
They expressed their deep appreciation of the longstanding friendly relations and cooperation between Laos and Hungary, which has undergone continuous development and built mutual trust and understanding. They noted that both sides have extended mutual assistance and support.   
The leaders of both countries have maintained regular contact and made reciprocal visits to each other’s country. The ministers vowed to encourage closer people-to-people links to promote tourism.
Hungarian companies have invested US$200 million in Laos in recent years, mainly in agriculture, water management, and the development of public administration, the Budapest Times reported.
Two-way trade increased fifty-fold this year, the news agency said, citing Minister Szijjártó.    
Mr Saleumxay spoke highly of his guest’s visit, which was made at the Lao minister’s invitation, saying it marked an important milestone in further enriching relations and cooperation, and added fuel to their collective efforts to fulfil the cooperation agreements made between the leaders of the two countries.
In this regard, both sides agreed to encourage the Laos-Hungary coordination committee to push forward the fulfilment of Phase 3 of cooperation projects funded by a conditional no-interest loan provided by the Hungarian government.
These projects involve agriculture infrastructure development, citizens’ modern management, and an integrated wastewater treatment system in Vientiane.
Both sides signed a new financial cooperation framework on continued funding for the Vientiane integrated wastewater treatment system.
In addition, they agreed to expand cooperation in other fields such as natural resources and the environment, education, and more.
The Hungarian side promised to provide further assistance for the development of human resources in Laos. Every year, some 150 Lao nationals receive Hungarian scholarships to takes course in universities in Hungary.
Minister Saleumxay expressed heartfelt gratitude to the government and people of Hungary for the assistance and support they have extended to Laos.
The Lao foreign ministry said the two sides also pledged to further extend reciprocal assistance and support through multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Hungary, and ASEAN-European Union (EU).
In addition to the bilateral framework, Minister Szijjártó told reporters that his fourth visit to Laos, during the country’s chairmanship of ASEAN this year, aimed to engage with the Lao side to strengthen relations between the Southeast Asian bloc and the EU, of which Hungary will assume chairmanship on July 1.
“Both the Lao PDR and Hungary are taking special responsibility this year to lead regional integrations where we are members,” he said.
While the world is currently facing security-related challenges, the minister said Hungary looks forward to working with partners who share the common view that conflicts have to be addressed by peaceful means.
“We are looking for partners, which use the same tone, use the same language and represent the same approach in this matter. We are a peace-loving nation,” Minister Szijjártó said.
“We do believe that all armed conflicts, all security challenges, and all wars must end around the negotiating table. There are no battlefield solutions.”
Minister Szijjártó added that he understood that Laos shares the same approach.
Describing the current global security situation as dangerous, the minister said “It has double significance that you team up with those who represent the appropriate position.”
During his visit, Minister Szijjártó also called on Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone at the Prime Mnister’s Office.



By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
 (Latest Update June 17, 2024)

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