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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Laos, France Celebrate 70th Anniversary of the France-Laos Treaty of Friendship

This Week

This edition of the French national day marked the 70th anniversary of the France-Laos Treaty of Friendship and Association, a long-standing partnership Ambassador Siv-Leng Chhuor described as “ambitious, respectful, pragmatic, and forward-looking.”

The embassy thanked the Laotian authorities for celebrating this important event with them at the French Residence, along with the dynamic French community in Laos and Laotian friends.

On this occasion, the Ambassador along with Health Minister Dr. Phoummalaysith and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Phandanouvong unveiled the logo launching a series of events celebrating the 70th anniversary over the rest of 2023, including the Fashion Week, official visits, events dedicated to heritage, health, education, and investment, and an official reception around 22 October.

Ambassador Siv-Leng Chhuor delivers a speech on stage

Ambassador Chhuor stated that France is a balancing power defending effective multilateralism, offering its partners to build a fairer world together through flexible coalitions. Ahead of Laos’s ASEAN presidency, France reaffirms its support as a genuine development partner of ASEAN and its member states, an organization at the heart of France’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

Over 2,000 French people are currently settled in Laos, enhancing the bilateral relationship between the two countries through their dynamism and integration. France is the leading European investor in Laos, where its entrepreneurs develop high-quality projects contributing to the country’s development, like EDF/NTPC, BFL, Agroforex, and Savan Logistics, to name a few.

As the Ambassador stated, “environmental and social responsibility is part of their DNA”, as for France’s cooperation projects in sustainable development, biodiversity, education and Francophonie, health, and heritage over the years.

In 2023, French Development Agency AFD will celebrate 30 years of presence in Laos, amounting to USD 300 million invested in many projects supporting cultural heritage, water management, health, and agroecology, helping Laos to build sustainable and inclusive development.

“France is a great power of solidarity,” the Ambassador highlighted, by doubling food aid to EUR 1 million in 2023 and offering 600,000 vaccine doses to Laos during the Covid-19 pandemic. Health is a priority, and France is proud that Laos has joined the PREZODE (Preventing Zoonotic Disease Emergence) initiative, which will enable it to benefit from the EUR 3 million of AFD’s regional program.

Education stays a priority sector for France, and over the past ten years, it has invested EUR 5 million in education in Laos. Through the Lao-French bilingual schooling system, Laotian students are learning French as a language of the future, providing access to globalization and employment. Thanks to scholarships and partnerships with French universities, more Laotian students can study in France to acquire new skills, expanding the alumni network to around 5,000 people.

Ambassador Siv-Leng Chhuor poses for a group photo with officials who took part in the event.

Cultural ties between the two countries are also growing stronger thanks to the Institut français, which offers rich and diverse cultural events promoting Laotian and French creativity. Every year, it organizes 100 events gathering people around cinema, music, visual arts, or debates.

Ambassador Chhuor concluded this special Bastille Day celebration by quoting the Olympic motto about going “Faster, higher, stronger – together”. It is the same Olympic spirit that should drive the bilateral relationship between France and Laos.

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