June 27, 2012
Today, the United States and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic met for the Fourth U.S.-Laos Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and Vice Foreign Minister of Laos Bounkeut Sangsomsak co-chaired the dialogue. The dialogue provided an opportunity to engage in a comprehensive discussion of bilateral and regional issues that reflected our expanding relationship.
The delegations discussed matters including the forthcoming entry of Laos into the World Trade Organization, ongoing bilateral efforts to help resolve the problem of unexploded ordnance in Laos, and our cooperation on a range of activities including health, educational exchanges, counternarcotics, law enforcement, trafficking-in-persons, and environmental protection. The delegations also discussed ongoing efforts to resolve the cases of American personnel still missing in Laos from the Vietnam War period.
In the meeting, the United States reaffirmed its support for ASEAN centrality in the evolving ASEAN-led regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific and underscored the importance of ASEAN unity on pressing regional issues. The U.S. side noted the addition of Burma into the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) and reaffirmed its commitment to broaden collaboration and information sharing among the six LMI partner countries. The United States highlighted the importance of the Mekong River Commission for development and environmental protection of the region.
The United States affirmed its continued robust support for educational and cultural exchange programs, including the Fulbright Scholarship Program, the International Visitor Leadership Program, and English-language training programs.
The United States welcomed the positive trends in the bilateral relationship. Both delegations look forward to continuing regular consultations on a broad range of issues, including at the next U.S.-Laos Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.
Note: See Vang Pao, one of the leading figures in Laotian history.