Ambassador Highlights Laos-Russian Cooperation

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Reconstruction of health facilities, involvement in UXO clearance, and the maximisation of benefits from the use of natural resources in Laos are all fields in which the Russian Federation may provide assistance to the country under their cooperation efforts.

Russian Ambassador to Laos, Mikhail Baranov delivered the message about the perspectives on cooperation between the two countries at a meeting held in Vientiane on Wednesday between Russian officials and representatives from different agencies of the Lao government along with media personnel.

The ambassador mentioned geological exploration, which he said complied with the programme on international development cooperation, and would be useful for Laos.

According to him, this means Russian geologists will assist Laos in exploring and setting the record about what valuable minerals are existing in the country’s territory.

This assistance to the Lao side will help it make better and more rational use of its abundant resources, Ambassador Baranov said.

After Laos and Russia reached an agreement on economic cooperation in 1991, the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has gained new momentum in recent times.

As of 2009, Russia has invested US$52 million in 12 projects in Laos concerning mining and energy development, and industrial administration.

Mr Baranov referred to the outcome of the 12th meeting of the Laos-Russia joint commission on trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation held in June, which has confirmed the fields of telecommunications, hydropower, civil aviation, minerals and mining, and office supplies as priorities of cooperation between the two countries.

He noted VimpelCom Lao, the telecommunications service provider of Beeline as a major Russian investor in Laos, which he said had a secure business operation, providing quality mobile phone and internet signals.

Also mentioned by the ambassador, the International Book Company-Securities (Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga), which has been operating in Laos for many years, will prove a reliable partner for the country.

The agreement of the two governments on permission for their citizens to stay in each other’s countries for periods up to 30 days without a visa was noted by the ambassador, as part of joint efforts in promoting tourism and exchange visits between the two nations.

Cultural exchange and education are also in the spotlight of cooperation between Laos and Russia, with increasing offers of scholarships by Russia for Lao students to continue their studies at Russian institutes and universities.

More than 80 Lao students received Russian scholarships this year, while only 37 students received the awards last year.

Laos’ Ministry of Science and Technology and Russia’s Tomsk State University signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation last month, while both sides agreed upon the establishment of a Russian university research centre at the National University of Laos.

An artists’ group from Saint-Petersburg also performed in Vientiane last year, while Russian Week was organised in the Lao capital this year.

A joint orchestra concert of youths from ASEAN and Russia will take place in Vientiane next year, according to the ambassador.

Source: Vientiane Times

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