November 21, 2023
VIENTIANE – The government has confirmed its readiness to take on the chairmanship of Asean next year, which it views as an important opportunity to raise the country’s profile in the region.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Saleumxay Kommasith, who is also deputy head of the National Steering Committee on Preparation for and Implementation of Laos’ Asean Chairmanship, said preparations were almost 100 percent complete.
The committee has prepared key documents, and arranged meeting venues, accommodation and other facilities for foreign guests, including Asean members and dialogue partners attending meetings next year.
Laos started to prepare for Asean chairmanship in 2021 with 14 sub-committees established. Mr Saleumxay advised the sub-committees to continue their work diligently and responsibly, to ensure the success of Laos’ chairmanship of Asean.
Government officials have benefitted from the experiences gained when Laos previously assumed this prestigious role in 2004 and 2016, he added.
Since Laos became a member of Asean in 1997, the country has held the Asean chairmanship twice, and has led and represented Asean members in regional and international cooperation activities. Laos will assume the position for the third time, starting from January 1, 2024 amid challenges facing the world and Asean region.
During its chair of Asean next year, Laos will concentrate on leading the regional bloc to promote community building and enhancing cooperation on Asean connectivity and resilience under the theme “Asean: Enhancing Connectivity and Resilience”.
The government will seek to capitalise on all the opportunities offered by its chairing of the regional bloc next year, when the Visit Laos Year 2024 tourism promotional campaign will also be rolled out.
Mr Saleumxay said it will be a huge opportunity for Laos to publicise its tourism industry and the country’s lifestyle and cultural attractions, in a bid to attract more visitors.
The government will also inform delegates about its trade and investment policies for foreign countries, and make known the socio-economic development policies between Laos and other countries.
The high-profile position will enable Laos to assume a bigger role in the regional and international arenas, and guide Asean member states in building a stronger Asean Economic Community.
The government also launched the Lao Asean chairmanship website during the conference.
Also during the meeting, the National Steering Committee reviewed the progress of urgent tasks, such as the improvement of roads and airports, traffic regulations, budget, meeting venues, communication and internet facilities, tourist destinations, and preparation of accommodation and transport for state and government leaders and other meeting delegates.
Laos has also been active in promoting the vision of Asean, political stability, preserving peace and stability, and working with other Asean members and development partners.