Officials from the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) and Australia met for the 13th High Level Consultations on Bilateral Relations in Vientiane on 31 October.
The meeting, hosted by the Lao PDR's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), reflects a strong and long-standing partnership over the past 66 years.
Officials discussed the wide-ranging and deep cooperation between the two countries, our shared interests including increasing trade between Australia and Laos, and areas for closer future collaboration to promote a region that is both stable and prosperous.
The Lao PDR and Australia confirmed the future directions of bilateral cooperation including security and trade cooperation. The meeting emphasised mutual commitment for two-way exchanges of senior officials visits particularly between our parliaments and in the areas of trade, defence, security, agriculture and human rights.
Australia is committed to maintaining a leadership role in supporting key sectors of the National Socio-Economic Development Plan. This includes in education, human resources development, water management, and trade and private sector development. Australia worked closely with the Lao PDR in providing a fast and practical humanitarian response to the Attapeu disaster.
Officials discussed regional and global issues of mutual interest. Both sides reaffirmed their view of the importance of ASEAN centrality for navigating challenges in the region, and of the principles of rules-based cooperation and open and inclusive economic integration to support regional security and prosperity.
The next High Level Consultations between the Lao PDR and Australia will take place in 2020. This will be prior to Laos becoming Australia's ASEAN Country Coordinator in 2021.