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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Hungary Reopens Embassy in Laos After Three Decades

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Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and Laos’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saleumxay Kommasith, inaugurated the reopening of Hungary’s embassy in Vientiane on 14 June, marking a significant milestone in the long-standing diplomatic relations between the two nations.

In a ribbon-cutting event held at the Royal Square building, the newly reopened embassy marks Hungary’s renewed commitment to fostering closer political and economic ties with Laos. This establishment, located next to the Crowne Plaza Vientiane on Samsenthai Road, positions Hungary as the fourth European Union (EU) member country with an embassy in Laos after Germany, France, and Luxembourg.

Hungary previously operated an embassy in Laos from 1975 to 1991, until the fall of the Soviet Union.Three decades later, the two countries are reunited in Laos.

Speaking at the inauguration, Minister Szijjártó emphasized the importance of mutual respect and dialogue in overcoming the geographical distance between the two countries. He highlighted the shared histories of struggle for freedom, which underpin the strong bilateral relations.

Minister Szijjártó’s visit coincides with Laos’s chairmanship of ASEAN this year. He stressed the significance of engaging with Laos to enhance the relationship between the Southeast Asian bloc and Europe with Hungary set to assume the EU chairmanship on 1 July.

According to Szijjártó, Hungarian investments in Laos have grown substantially, totaling around USD 200 million in recent years. These investments mainly focus on agriculture, water management, and public administration development. Bilateral trade has also seen a fifty-fold increase this year, showcasing the success of their cooperation, the Hungarian minister stressed.

At the event, minister Saleumxay praised the visit, which he described as a milestone in enriching relations and cooperation. He expressed gratitude for Hungary’s support and reiterated the commitment to further extend reciprocal assistance through multilateral frameworks, including the United Nations, ASEAN-Hungary, and ASEAN-EU.

The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement highlighting the reopening of the embassy as a symbol of the shared desire to strengthen the diplomatic relationship established over six decades ago.

A notable aspect of Hungary’s support to Laos has been in education. Over the years, approximately 300 Lao students have studied in Hungarian universities. Many graduates now hold significant positions in Laos’s public administration, particularly in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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