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PM’s visit: Germany Pledges To Help Laos Banish Poverty

Source: Vientiane Times

Germany has pledged to increase assistance to Laos for the development of agriculture and the processing industry, to help Laos graduate from Least Developed Country status and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The commitment was given during talks in Berlin on Wednesday when Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith visited German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.

The Lao premier and his delegation made an official visit to Germany from March 12-13 at the invitation of Mrs Merkel.

The visit, which is the first official visit by a Lao high-level delegation to Germany, is a significant milestone for the enhancement of friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries.

During their talks, held shortly after an official welcoming ceremony, the two heads of governments said they highly valued the longstanding friendly relations and cooperation between their countries.

Laos and Germany established diplomatic ties on January 31, 1958, and marked the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations last year. Germany has extended invaluable assistance to Laos, focusing on two priority areas – technical cooperation assistance via Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and financial cooperation assistance via the German Development Bank (KfW).

German assistance has been in line with Laos’ socio-economic development plan, particularly the need for rural development, vocational education, green growth, human resources development, environmental protection, and road construction and repair, as well as private business development including the promotion of small, medium and micro enterprises.

German assistance for Laos from 2018-2020 amounts to EUR 50 million including EUR 10 million for flood relief and recovery in Attapeu and other provinces across the country.

Prime Minister Thongloun expressed heartfelt gratitude to the government and people of Germany for the invaluable assistance they have provided.

The two sides also discussed future cooperation in investment, trade, and education, among other fields

Two-way trade between Laos and Germany exceeded US$72.7 million during the first 10 months of 2018.

Prime Minister Thongloun and Chancellor Merkel also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest.

Mr Thongloun issued an invitation to Mrs Merkel to pay an official visit to Laos at a convenient time, which she accepted.

The Lao and German Ministries of Foreign Affairs signed a joint declaration on consultation between the two ministries. Mr Thongloun also met Lao expatriates currently living in Germany.