Visiting Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah have said they highly value the friendly relations and cooperation between their two countries.
The Lao premier made an official two-day visit to Brunei Darussalam from February 16-17 at the invitation of the Bruneian king.
It was Mr Thongloun’s first visit to Brunei since taking office as Prime Minister in 2016. The visit aimed to enhance the friendly relations and cooperation between the two Southeast Asian countries.
Shortly after an official welcoming ceremony at the Istana Nurul Iman Palace, Prime Minister Thongloun and His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah held bilateral talks.
Both sides said they highly valued the growing friendly relations and cooperation between Laos and Brunei which have continually flourished over the past two and a half decades since the two nations established diplomatic ties on July 27, 1993.
Last year, Laos and Brunei marked the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The leaders discussed cooperation in a wide range of areas including economics, education, culture, and tourism. They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest.
The Lao premier conveyed warmest greetings from President Bounnhang Vorachit to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah and invited him to visit Laos at a convenient time.
Mr Thongloun expressed heartfelt thanks to the government and people of Brunei for extending assistance to the victims of the devastating flood that occurred in Attapeu province last year.
Those accompanying Prime Minister Thongloun included Minister of Industry and Commerce Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Dr Phet Phomphithak, Minister of Education and Sports Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun, and business leaders.
Following their talks, the Lao prime minister and the Bruneian king witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on education cooperation.
A business-matching forum was also organised in an attempt to promote greater trade and investment opportunities and business partnerships between the two countries. Laos has an embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan, while Brunei maintains an embassy in Vientiane. Over past years, the government of Brunei has extended assistance to Laos in various areas including human resource development. It has provided scholarships and English language training for Lao nationals, and funded the construction of schools in Laos.
Brunei has also extended financial assistance to Laos.
The two countries extended the visa waiver agreement for citizens holding diplomatic, official and regular passports from 14 to 30 days, according to the Borneo Bulletin – a daily English-language newspaper published in Brunei. In 2012, the Government of Brunei supported Laos’ hosting of the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM 9) as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summits in Vientiane in 2004 and 2016, the newspaper added.