A Laotian-Soviet Commission on economic, scientific and technological co-operation held its first session in Moscow on Monday (2 July).
A Laotian-Soviet Commission on economic, scientific and technological co-operation held its first session in Moscow on Monday (2 July). The Commission is highly significant because the tiny land-locked country has been caught in the middle of the China-Vietnam conflict. Thousands of Vietnamese troops have been stationed in Laos and Chinese troops were reported to be massed on the Laotian border.
SYNOPSIS: Before the session started, the head of the Laotian delegation, First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Nouhak Phoumsavan talked privately with Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin.
Mr. Kosygin opened the session with a welcoming speech to all the delegates. He stressed how important co-operation between the two countries was and hoped that the session would produce positive results.
In the past year, Laos, has found its neutrality under serious pressure. Laos has about three and a half million people. It needs major external economic support to improve the living standards of its people. Their per capita income is only about ninety dollars (U.S.) a year. It seems likely that the Soviet Union will provide major economic and technological aid to Laos.