The Government of Laos has issued a response to the recent visa restrictions placed upon a number of citizens of Laos, which has caused confusion among Lao communities.
The Trump administration has ordered suspension of the issuance of visas to certain citizens of Laos after the country refused to take back its persons deported from the United States.
The Government of Laos made the following response on its Ministry of Foreign Affairs website:
Vientiane, July 10, 2018
In reply to the U.S. Embassy Verbal Note No. 18-720/CONS, dated 9 July 2018, on the above-captioned sanctions the Lao PDR Government expresses its profound disappointment and regret over the visa sanctions unilaterally imposed by the US Government against Laos for the so-called “lack of adequate cooperation from the Lao side in documenting and facilitating the return home of those claimed to be Lao nationals who have exhausted their legal remedies and have no right to remain in the United States”. This unfounded and unfair act by the US Government is not only unacceptable and counterproductive, but may bring about negative impact on the positive and growing Laos-US cooperative relationship as well.
The undeniable truth is that despite myriad difficulties and constraints facing it, the Lao Government has attached importance to and extended its fullest possible cooperation in responding to the US Government’s request by ways and means mutually agreed upon and on the basis of the relevant national laws and regulations of the Lao PDR as well as in accordance with its specific conditions and capacity. In doing so, the Lao Government has established an Ad-hoc Committee chaired by Deputy Minister of Public Security to be directly responsible for cooperation with the US side in addressing the repatriation issue. To date, a series of bilateral consultations at different levels have been conducted to discuss the matter related to repatriation. Ten video-conference interviews with persons subject to deportation were made by the Lao authority concerned. As a result of this joint effort, three cases have been accepted by Laos of which two have already been repatriated to Laos, and there are now 9 cases under consideration and subject to interview which is scheduled to be held on 27 July 2018.
In view of the above, the unreasonable sanctions imposed by the US Government would not be helpful for making Laos-US cooperative relationship advance toward a new step or a higher plane in the future. Conversely, it could possibly undermine the existing good bilateral cooperation between the Lao PDR and the United States in other fields. For this reason, the US Government is urged to consider removing this measure against Laos as soon as possible for the common benefits of the two countries and the peoples.
The Lao PDR Government, which consistently adheres to its policy of consolidating and promoting the friendly relations and fruitful cooperation with the US, stands ready to continue to work with the US Government toward the shared goals, including this issue of the latter’s concern. At the same time, the Lao Government hopes that a positive and constructive gesture would be shown by the US Government as regards its unilateral action on this matter.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lao PDR