Strong friendship
Fadhil Yunus

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has underscored the firm friendship between Brunei Darussalam and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic which is marked by practical cooperation in education and defence as well as regular exchanges of visits.

His Majesty highlighted the bilateral relations in a titah at an official dinner hosted by His Majesty and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha in honour of the official visit of the Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thongsing Thammavong and his spouse Madame Bouathong Thammavong at the Istana Nurul Iman last night.

His Majesty said that the Prime Minister of Laos’ visit marked a further step towards the strengthening of both countries’ ties in a year where the two close nations celebrate the 20th year since diplomatic relations were first established.

“We look forward to many more opportunities to cooperate further with Laos as we continue to strengthen our ties into the future,” His Majesty said.

His Majesty said that the Prime Minister of Laos’ visit comes in a year when Brunei assumes the Chairmanship of Asean and that as a member of Asean, “we are committed to working together to enhance regional peace, stability and prosperity”.

“Our countries both strive to continue raising the living standards of our people to provide them with opportunities to advance themselves in this highly competitive world,” said His Majesty.

Also present at the official dinner were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam as well as other members of the royal family.

His Majesty said that Asean provides the support and encouragement to help realise these goals, adding that as Chairman of Asean, Brunei Darussalam looks forward to working close with Laos in building the Asean Community.

“Brunei Darussalam commends the Lao people for their strong sense of national identity and their determination to succeed in developing their country.”

His Majesty expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister of Laos and his government for the mutual support, friendship and goodwill that both countries have enjoyed over the past twenty years.

Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, meanwhile, said that the Lao government and people have closely followed the national development, progress and success of Brunei.

“We truly admire that throughout the past 29 years of independence and under the wise guidance and leadership of Your Majesty, Brunei Darussalam has achieved significant outcome in her national, social and economic development which has remarkably improved the livelihood of the people of Brunei,” he said.

“Since the establishment of our diplomatic relations on July 27, 1993, the friendly relations and close cooperation between the Lao PDR and Brunei Darussalam have continued to flourish through the regular exchange of visits and consultations at different levels,” he said.

Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong expressed gratitude to the government and people of Brunei Darussalam for their continued assistance and support extended to the Lao PDR, which contributed to the national, social and economic development and improvement of the Lao multi-ethnic people and towards efforts of poverty eradication. - Borneo Bulletin (3 March 2013)