Lao E-Passports To Be Operational Next Year

Laos will begin using E-passports next year thanks to cooperation between the Lao and Russian governments, and Russian company International Book-Security.

The project, which began in 2012, was revealed on Wednesday at a reception in Vientiane to mark the 50th anniversary of Lao-Russian and Russian-Lao Friendship Associations.

According to the project plan, the use of E-passports for diplomats would begin on January 15 with E-passports for government officials and ordinary citizens set for the middle of next year.

All equipment and infrastructure for production of the passports is in place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Vientiane, while the control gate for travellers holding the passports has also been installed at Wattay International Airport.

Mr Thongloun Sisoulith watches a presentation about the E-passport project at the reception.

At the reception, Russian Ambassador to Laos Mr Mikhail Baranov, representing the Russian government, pinned a Friendship Medal on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Thongloun Sisoulith, which was awarded for his efforts in reinforcing and developing mutual beneficial cooperation between Laos and Russia.

Mr Thongloun said at the awarding ceremony, “This medal is especially valued by me because it has been awarded in the year significant for all Lao people, – the 40th anniversary of the Lao PDR, the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Lao-Russian Friendship Association, and the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries”.

Since becoming the independent state of Laos, the Soviet Union and then Russia have provided assistance to Lao people across all sectors.

As the country prepares to celebrate the historic date, Mr Thongloun reminded the audience about Lao people’s heroic struggle for national liberation and sovereignty and that the people could now define their own destiny.

“Overall, on the way we felt fraternal assistance from the Soviet Union and Russian Federation,” he said.

Under the active participation of Soviet specialists, industry in Laos was founded, the defensive potential of the country was strengthened and the political system of society was formed.

Under technical collaboration from Russia, tens of transport infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges, industrial and agriculture enterprises, schools and hospitals have been built in Laos.

The Soviet Union and Russia have played an important role in building a modern collective Lao intellect as thousands of citizens received their education from the Soviet Union and Russia.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Baranov made mention of the friendly relations between the two countries, which he said had been tightened at every stage with cooperation at all levels, including cooperation in the cultural sector and the conserving of Russian language in Laos.

Source: Vientiane Times