Thursday, March 3, 2022

How did Laos vote during the recent UN General Assembly over Russia's aggression in Ukraine?

Here are the voting results at the recent UN General Assembly on March 2, 2022, where members voted on the draft resolution A/ES-11/L.1 which demands that Russia unconditionally end its war against Ukraine and to halt its invasion of Ukrainian territory.

141 voted in favor
5 voted against
35 abstained (including Lao PDR)

UN Resolution Vote Results on March 2, 2022

The Lao Ambassador to the UN is H.E. Mr. Anouparb Vongnorkeo.

Laos' close diplomatic ties with Russia is an easy explanation of why it chose to abstain during the vote, as Laos doesn't want to risk sullying its relations with Russia.  Lao relations with Russia date back to 1960 during the Soviet period.  However, only in recent years has this relationship notably grown militarily and economically.  Read more about why Russia's relationship with Laos has been increasing.

By comparison, Lao diplomatic relations with Ukraine only began in 1992.  However, there are no official embassies, consulates or diplomatic missions in each other's countries.  The closest Ukrainian Embassy is in Thailand.  Furthermore, trade between the two countries amounted to less than USD$1m (2019).

While Laos abstained from the recent UN vote, it did however issue a statement on the matter on February 26, 2022 through the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The statement was later reported by the Laotian Times on March 1, 2022.  The Lao government's official position on this issue takes no sides on the conflict, instead stating that:

The Lao PDR has been closely following the evolving, complex, and sensitive developments in Ukraine.

The Lao PDR calls on all parties concerned to exercise utmost restraint and pursue efforts in deescalating the tension that may undermine international peace and security.

The Lao PDR supports ongoing efforts to find a peaceful settlement to the situation through diplomatic means.

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