|Deputy PM Pham Binh Minh meets Lao President Chummaly Sayasone during his official visit to Laos. The President proposed that a bilateral trade deal should be signed to help two-way trade reach $2 billion by 2015. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Chuong
VIENTIANE (VNS) — Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh began a two-day official visit to Laos yesterday at the invitation of his Lao counterpart, Thonglun Sisulith.
He paid courtesy calls to the General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) and President, Chummaly Sayasone. and Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong.
The Lao leaders pledged to further foster the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive co-operation between the two countries.
Party chief Chummaly Sayasone said he was delighted at the growing ties between the two parties and said he believed the two sides would continue working closely for the success of the congress of each party in 2016.
The Lao Prime Minister spoke highly of the two countries' preparations for the 37th meeting of the Viet Nam-Laos Inter-Governmental Committee in 2015.
He praised Viet Nam's top investor position in Laos and its commitment to increasing ODA by 30 per cent.
He proposed that a bilateral trade deal should be signed to help two-way trade reach $2 billion by 2015.
Minh said the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry would continue to further special ties between the two countries.
Earlier, he held talks with his Lao counterpart, Thonglun Sisulith, reaching an agreement that an annual meeting between the two foreign ministries was necessary for sharing information and co-ordinating action in the rapidly changing regional and global situations.
The leaders said they valued the results of a plan to upgrade land-border markers along the shared borderline, as well as the implementation of an agreement on the settlement of issues related to immigrants and non-registered marriages in the border areas between the two countries.
Both sides agreed to work harder for the official launch of a "one-stop-shop" model at the Lao Bao-Densavan border gate from January 1.
The two leaders also briefed each other on their external policies while sharing views on prominent regional and international issues, including the building of an ASEAN Community.
They pledged to work closely with other ASEAN member countries to successfully form the community by next year.
Viet Nam was willing to support Laos in acting as the ASEAN chair in 2016, Minh said.
The leaders later signed an agreement on co-operation between the two foreign ministries for the next six years.
Minh, on behalf of the Party and State of Viet Nam, presented the Independence Medal, second class, to Lao Minister of Justice Bounkeut Sangsomsak, who is also former Deputy Foreign Minister.
He also awarded the Labour Medal, third class, and the Friendship Medal to some units of the Lao Foreign Ministry in recognition of their excellent contributions to promoting the special solidarity between Viet Nam and Laos. — VNS