Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and his visiting Timor-Leste counterpart Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão yesterday held talks on bilateral ties, pledging mutual support and assistance through bilateral and multilateral frameworks.
The talks took place shortly after an official welcoming ceremony at the Government Office in Vientiane. Mr Gusmão and his delegation are visiting Laos from September 9-11 in response to Mr Thongsing’s invitation, the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.
The visit is the first by a Timor-Leste prime minister since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 2002.
The two premiers discussed ways to broaden the friendly relations and cooperation between Laos and Timor-Leste.
To achieve this objective, the prime ministers agreed to regular exchange visits by leaders and delegations from both sides at various levels along with sharing lessons learnt in various fields.
The two prime ministers signed an agreement on cooperation in economics, trade and technology between Laos and Timor-Leste, which lays out a foundation conducive for future cooperation.
The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs described Mr Gusmão’s visit as “an important milestone in the history of Laos-Timor-Leste relations”.
Both sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest and expressed their readiness to extend support and assistance to one another through bilateral and multilateral frameworks.
Mr Thongsing told Mr Gusmão that Laos was ready to share lessons learnt in relation to Timor-Leste’s application for membership in Asean — the regional bloc in which Laos is one of 10 members.
In regard to Timor-Leste’s application for Asean membership, “Laos will continue to give its support,” Prime Minister Thongsing was quoted by the press release as saying.
For his part, Mr Gusmão, who is also Minister of Defence and Security of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, thanked Mr Thongsing, the Lao government and people for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation.
The prime ministers briefed each other on important developments in their respective countries and evaluated the current status of bilateral relations.
Mr Gusmão invited the Lao prime minister to visit Timor-Leste and Mr Thongsing accepted the invitation, according to the press release.
On the same day, Mr Gusmão and his delegation paid a courtesy visit to President Choummaly Sayasone at the Presidential Office.
The president said he highly valued Mr Gusmão’s visit, which he said would bring the friendly relations and cooperation between Laos and Timor-Leste to new heights.
The president congratulated all concerned on the successful outcome of the bilateral talks between the two prime ministers. He reiterated that Laos was ready to share lessons learnt in relation to Timor-Leste’s application for Asean membership.
Mr Gusmão thanked the president for his gracious welcome and conveyed the warm greetings of the Timor-Leste President to Mr Choummaly.
He expressed his desire and intention to deepen friendly relations and cooperation with Laos in areas where both sides demonstrate high potential.
Mr Gusmão thanked Laos for the support the country has extended to Timor-Leste in the regional arena over the past years. Mr Choummaly asked the prime minister to convey his greetings to the president of Timor-Leste and deliver an invitation to him to visit Laos.
Mr Gusmão later paid a courtesy call to the President of the National Assembly, Ms Pany Yathortou, in parliament.
Source: Vientiane Times
Published on September 11, 2013