Switzerland and Laos boost development programme

Cassis met his Lao counterpart, Saleumxay Kommasith, and other government ministers during his visit to Vientiane. (Archive picture) Keystone/Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry

The Swiss foreign minister, Ignazio Cassis, has signed an agreement to extend development cooperation with Laos.

This content was published on August 4, 2021 - 16:32

The accord includes closer cooperation on employment, vocational education and training, as well as agriculture and food security, according to a foreign ministry statement on Wednesday.

The deal also aims to improve local governance and humanitarian aid in the southeast Asian country. Both partners have committed to respecting democratic principles and fundamental rights as well as international agreements on climate change and sustainability.

“I am convinced that with this agreement Switzerland can contribute to balanced economic and social progress in Laos,” Cassis is quoted as saying.

Switzerland is the eighth-largest bilateral donor to Laos and opened a cooperation office in the capital, Vientiane, in 2006. The Swiss government’s development agency will launch its new four-year cooperation programme with Laos next year.

It was the first ever visit to Laos by a Swiss foreign minister since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1963External link.

Cassis met the country’s deputy prime minister, Sonexay Siphandone, who expressed thanks for Switzerland’s long-standing aid commitment, the foreign ministry said.

Cassis arrived in Laos from neighbouring Thailand and will wrap up his six-day tour of southeast Asia after a visit to Vietnam.

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