The Ministry of Interior and the Lao Ministry of Public Security have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on security cooperation for 2022 and agreed to continue to foster increased links between them.

According to a press release from the interior ministry, the agreement was made at a virtual meeting between interior minister Sar Kheng and his Lao counterpart Vilay Lakhamfong. The two also evaluated the two countries’ cooperative efforts on security for 2020-21.

Sar Kheng and Vilay both had words of praise for the good relations between the two countries’ leaders and pledged to move forward together in the same spirit of traditional friendship, solidarity and good neighbourliness.

The press release stated that a significant increase in the volume of bilateral trade between Cambodia and Laos in 2020 made a significant contribution to the economies of both countries and was to the mutual benefit of everyone.

They also noted the mutual support between Laos and Cambodia in combating Covid-19 and dealing with the difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic.

“In the spirit of strengthening and expanding the relationship and active cooperation between these parties, [Sar Kheng] and [Vilay] signed the MoU on security cooperation for 2022 and agreed to continue to invest time and attention into working together productively,” the press release said.

Both parties have agreed to further enhance and strengthen the cooperative mechanisms necessary for suppression of drug trafficking activities and to expand the scope of their information exchanges to further suppress drug trafficking along the border.

They agreed to increase the level of management and control in place along the border within their respective jurisdictions and to take timely measures to prevent and suppress all kinds of cross-border crimes, especially smuggling, deforestation, poaching and hunting, and other activities that are contrary to the laws of either country or violations of their border regulations.

Both parties agreed to continue to monitor and facilitate the transit of people across the shared international border in accordance with the laws and procedures, including cross-border trade and tourism exchanges, medical examinations, family visits and participation in various traditional ceremonies.

They pledged to cooperate to resolve problems along the border based on the spirit of friendship, solidarity and mutual respect for sovereignty.

The two sides also expressed appreciation for the efforts of the border authorities and law enforcement officers stationed there who continued their work despite the complex situation caused by Covid-19 and pledged to work closely together in maintaining a good security environment along the border.