The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Xavier Bettel, paid a working visit to the People's Republic of Laos from 5 to 8 February 2024.
The programme for the final day included the 15th Luxembourg-Laos Partnership Commission, which was co-chaired by Xavier Bettel and Khamjane Vongphosy, Laos's Minister of Planning and Investment. The meeting provided an opportunity to review the progress of the programmes under the fifth Indicative Cooperation Programme (ICP).
At the end of the Partnership Commission, ministers Bettel and Vongphosy signed two amendments to the agreements relating to the "Health and Nutrition" programme and the "Rule of law, access to justice and good governance" programme. The budget for the "Health and Nutrition" programme has been increased by €3.3 million, bringing it to a total of €35.8 million. This budget increase includes the supply of specialised refrigerators - produced in Luxembourg - to the Laotian Red Cross to support the blood cold chain in Laos. Another component will be to support Laos in carrying out studies on the health sector. The "Rule of law, access to justice and good governance" programme has been increased by €2.4 million, with the particular aim of strengthening inter-university cooperation between the University of Luxembourg and the National University of Laos. The total budget for this programme is therefore €11.4 million.
In Vientiane, Minister Bettel also had bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister of Laos, Sonexay Siphandone, and the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos, Saleumxay Kommasith. Discussions with Sonexay Siphandone focused on bilateral relations between Luxembourg and Laos and the current situation in Laos. During their meeting with Saleumxay Kommasith, the ministers exchanged views on topical international issues.
As a symbol of the long-standing friendship between Luxembourg and Laos, Minister Bettel also presented honorary awards to the former Laos Minister of Health, Ponmek Dalaloy, and to his counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith. At the awards ceremony, Xavier Bettel thanked them for their significant contribution to bilateral relations between Luxembourg and Laos, which has left an indelible mark on the ties between the two countries.
Finally, Xavier Bettel also visited the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the National University of Laos, which has been working since 2013 with Luxembourg Cooperation and the University of Luxembourg to strengthen the rule of law through legal education and training. In the presence of the Laos Minister for Education and Sport, Phout Simmalavong, Minister Bettel exchanged views with the students benefiting from the project, stressing the importance of having an inclusive legal system: "A solid legal system is the backbone of a country. If people's rights are not respected equally and if injustice is the rule, a country cannot function. That's why the work done at this faculty is so important in training the next generation of lawyers and tackling these inequalities."
Press release by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Defence, Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade