The President of the Lao PDR, H. E. Mr. Choummaly SAYASONE, paid an official visit to France. This is the first visit of a President of the Lao PDR in France. It comes a year after the one made to Laos by the President of the French Republic, in November 2012, which was the first visit of a French head of state in Laos.
On the occasion, the President of the Lao PDR met with the President of the French Republic in Paris on October 22, 2013. This visit is a significant milestone, sixty years after the recognition of the country’s independence by France.
The President of the French Republic welcomed the role of the Lao PDR in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) dialogue, whose last summit of heads of state and government has been held in Vientiane in November 2012, under the presidency of the Lao PDR.
The heads of state recalled the close historical and human ties between the two countries and stressed the excellent relations of cooperation. The President of the French Republic has confirmed the will of France to continue its ongoing commitment to the development of Lao PDR and its regional integration, particularly in the context of cooperation with the countries of the Mekong Basin. The two heads of state called for the strengthening of the relations and dialogue with the European Union.
They also agreed to expand economic and trade ties between the two countries. They expressed the wish to increase French companies investments and the presence of medium-sized companies and small and medium-sized enterprises. They also wished for fruitful economic relations, especially regarding the food industry, energy, infrastructure, health, tourism and transport sectors.
They also reiterated the importance of cooperation for the strengthening of institutions, administrative reform and governance. They expressed their shared commitment to decentralized cooperation, and to the role of civil society and non-governmental organizations.
The two heads of state reaffirmed the importance of cultural and development cooperation, and their shared commitment to the Francophonie. In this context, they welcomed the agreement of the Lao authorities for the extension of the Lycée français Josué-Hoffet. They wish to strengthen the training programs implemented in Lao PDR for French teachers.
The two leaders welcomed the signing, during the visit, of the financing agreement for a program of the AFD aiming to develop the upland of northern Lao PDR and the signature of the financing agreement of the FSP “Development of the cultural heritage in southern Laos" for the restoration of Vat Phu, World Heritage. They also welcomed the signing of the joint declaration on the feasibility study for the extension of the Nam Theun 2 hydraulic project.
The presidents paid tribute to the victims of the plane crash on October 16, 2013 and agreed to cooperate closely to identify victims and determine the causes of the accident.