Laos is among our most promising partners in Asia, being connected to Belarus by long-held friendship, mutual support within international organisations and common views on the global agenda. However, our business ties are underdeveloped; our approximate turnover of $11m is far from satisfactory but could easily be expanded through promotion of co-operation.
Deputy Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith’s visit was special, coming in response to our Foreign Minister’s visit to Laos last year yet also signifying the strengthening of top-level relations. Mr. Sisoulith’s foremost task in Minsk was to prepare a forthcoming visit by the Laos President to Belarus.
On meeting his guest at his working residence of 38 Karl Marx Street, President Lukashenko spoke of the significance of the event, saying, “I’m pleased that the President of Laos will soon pay a visit to Belarus. It’s great, since we are approaching direct contacts between Belarus and Laos.”
Until recently, business contacts with Laos have been implemented primarily via Vietnam but, of course, it’s preferable to hold direct bilateral dialogue. Belarus’ usual foreign political strategy is to use good relations with one country to gain a foothold with neighbouring states in the region, which has clearly worked well in this case.
The Laos guest confirmed the importance of the forthcoming visit for enhancing fruitful collaboration, adding, “Although our countries are separated by great geographical distance, we’ve always viewed Belarus as our sincere friend.”