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Lao PM Meets with Saudi, Vietnamese Delegations on ASEAN-GCC Sidelines

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Laos’ Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone met with Crown Prince and Prime Minister of  Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman and Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on October 20 on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh. 

As the summit was in full swing, PM Sonexay engaged in diplomatic talks with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. In the discussion, the pair brought up potential ways to strengthen the ties between their two nations and foster greater cooperation on a variety of fronts, including investment, agriculture, and tourism.

According to Sonexay, this meeting marked an important moment in the diplomatic relations between Laos and Saudi Arabia. In 2022, Laos has expressed its interest in exploring the possibility of importing fuel from Saudi Arabia and exporting agricultural produce to the oil-rich nation. Although no specific details have been released about the timeline or method for the import of fuel from Saudi Arabia, further discussions and studies are scheduled to take place in the upcoming years. 

This new move towards further economic cooperation is expected to benefit both nations and strengthen their existing relationship. To mark the occasion, PM Sonexay also conveyed his heartfelt congratulations to the Crown Prince for successfully hosting the ASEAN-GCC summit. 

During the talk, both sides expressed their admiration for each other’s country and cherished the friendship and long-lasting relations that had developed between them since 1990, when the first formal contact between ASEAN and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf or the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) took place.

The Lao delegation was eager to update the Saudi side on the national economic situation, as well as their preparations for the ASEAN chairmanship and the country’s goal to attract visitors from all over the world during the Lao Tourism Year in 2024.

As the conversation drew to a close, PM Sonexay extended a warm invitation to the Saudi Crown Prince to visit Laos in the near future. 

In another gathering – on the ASEAN-GCC summit’s sideline, the Lao delegation met with  Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and expressed its commitment to carry on with the ongoing cooperation projects between the two countries, including the Vietnam-Laos Strategic Cooperation Agreement (2021 – 2030), the Vietnam-Laos Bilateral Cooperation Agreement (2021 – 2023).

The parties also discussed infrastructure development, mentioning the recent approval of the Vung Ang port projects 1, 2, 3 and the strengthening of railway infrastructure between Laos and Vietnam.

The ASEAN representatives will gather in the next GCC-ASEAN summit Malaysia in 2025.

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