United States and Laos Hold 10th Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue

0
3887
US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink, Vice Minister of Health Dr. Snong Thongsna, U.S. Ambassador Peter Haymond, WHO Representative Dr. Ying-Ru Lo, and UNICEF Officer in Charge David Duncan observe COVID-19 vaccination efforts at Vientiane’s Sisattanak District Hospital.

The United States and Laos held their 10th Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue on October 14, in Vientiane, where the two sides discussed their continued cooperation across a host of issues.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel J. Kritenbrink and U.S. Ambassador to Laos Peter M. Haymond led the US delegation, while Lao Vice Foreign Minister Bounleua Phandanouvong led the Lao delegation.

The two sides reconfirmed their intention to expand US-Laos cooperation in line with the Comprehensive Partnership announced in Vientiane during former President Obama’s visit in 2016.

The Assistant Secretary said the United States was proud to be the first international partner to provide COVID-19 assistance to Laos following the outbreak of the pandemic. US has provided assistance of USD 16.7 million in support of vaccine rollout in Laos to date, and on a visit to Sisattanak District Hospital last week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink announced an additional USD 1.5 Million to further increase COVID-19 vaccination rollout support.

Speaking to the press on Friday, the Assistant Secretary said that the main message that he would like people to take away from his visit is that the central focus of America’s policy in this region is building the capacity of its partners, including Laos.

He says, “We believe that we are stronger, more prosperous, more secure when we have successful partners with whom we can then work on common challenges and seize shared opportunities.”

He noted that the United States will continue to work with the Lao people and government in support of its sustainable development goals, including programs to improve health, education, economic growth, agriculture, and good governance, and the survey and clearance of unexploded ordnance in Laos.

The US has aided in the clearance of UXOs in Laos with the funding support of around USD 310 million since 1995 and USD 240 million of that amount has been utilized since 2016. It will be investing USD 45 million in 2023, the highest annual amount to be ever allocated for the clearance of UXOs in Laos by the United States.

During the bilateral meeting, the two sides also discussed the US’s concerns about global and regional developments, including the Myanmar regime’s refusal to implement the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus, Russia’s violation of international law, including the UN Charter, in invading and trying to annex parts of Ukraine, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.