Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lao New Year

Laotian flag
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 12, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Laos as you celebrate your New Year.

As we commemorate the 57th anniversary of our bilateral relationship, we reflect on our history of partnership and cooperation. Today, we are building on this foundation of mutual understanding and respect by increasing trade, strengthening law enforcement, improving health, and solving regional issues that are important to the people of Laos and the United States.

As you celebrate this special day and honor Lao culture, heritage, and the rich traditions of the Lao New Year, know that the United States stands with you. Best wishes for a safe and happy New Year.

Note: Shortly after independence for the Kingdom of Laos in 1953, a long civil war ensued between the Royal Laotian forces and the Marxist-Leninist Pathet Lao.  The Pathet Lao won the civil war and began a long campaign of persecution against the Hmong people, who bravely fought against the Pathet Lao and their North Vietnamese Army trainers.

General Vang Pao, a decorated veteran of the several wars in Indochina, was the leader of the United Lao National Liberation Front until he passed away in 2011.  The persecution of the Hmong people continues to this day.

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