Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Ms. Marise Payne, made an official visit to Laos this week.
The Australian foreign minister and her delegation made the visit in response to the invitation of Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith.
Ms. Marise, who visited Laos as part of a trip abroad to visit close partners in the Indo-Pacific and Euro-Atlantic regions, arrived in Vientiane in time to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Laos.
Her visit was aimed at discussing ways to further strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries, and discuss her country’s cooperation with Laos as Australia’s ASEAN Country Coordinator, including ways to take forward the new ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and respond to regional challenges.
During a meeting between Mr. Saleumxay and his counterpart Ms. Marise, both sides said they highly valued the good and continuous relations between the two nations that have spanned 70 years, according to a statement from the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The two sides held discussions on future cooperation, including Australia’s assistance in Covid recovery, human resource development, national defense, trade and investment, infrastructure, agriculture, and the problem of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) in Laos.
Both sides pledged to support one another under the framework of the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Partnership, with Australia promising to assist Laos in preparing for its chairmanship of ASEAN in 2024.
Courtesy Call on Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh
Ms. Marise also paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister of Laos, Mr. Phankham Viphavanh, at the Prime Minister’s Office during her two-day visit to Laos.
Prime Minister Phankham extended a warm welcome to the Australian foreign minister, saying he highly valued the visit as a significant contribution to strengthening cooperation between Laos and Australia in all areas.
PM Phankham also expressed his gratitude to the government and people of Australia for providing assistance to Laos in areas such as education, health, agriculture, poverty reduction, and human resource development over many years.
In response, the Australian Minister reaffirmed her commitment to strengthening the sound relations and cooperation between Laos and Australia in all areas, especially in foreign affairs.
Education & development cooperation sit at the heart of 🇦🇺’s partnership with Laos. I met senior Australian alumni –some of the over 1,300 Lao women & men who have studied in Australia & now bring their skills to the government, civil service & private sector in Laos. pic.twitter.com/zQtqUkMn3q
— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) February 25, 2022
During her visit, Minister Marise also took the time to meet with senior Australian alumni in Laos.
Some 1,300 Lao men and women traveled to Australia to study, including Foreign Minister Saleumxay, a Monash University alumnus.