Laos ready to host ASEAN summit

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LAOS assured its readiness to host the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) series of meetings as the chair of the association this year.

Laos Ambassador to Brunei Amphay Kindavong told The Brunei Times that with the country’ past experiences in hosting regional and international meetings, Laos is ready to host ASEAN 2016 under the theme ‘Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community’.

Laos was the host of the 10th ASEAN Summit in 2004 and the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

“This year we are ready to host the ASEAN Summit and its related meetings,” he said.

“As the embassy here, we will help Brunei’s side in any way we can. We will provide assistance to Brunei (officials) to attend the meetings in Laos,” he added.

Based on the ASEAN Charter, the chairmanship of ASEAN rotates annually based on the alphabetical order of the English-language names of its members.

The chair’s responsibilities include hosting ministerial meetings and the ASEAN Summit.

The ambassador said Laos will focus on promoting cooperation in eight areas since this will be the first summit following the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) on December 31 last year.

Laos will work to realise the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, while narrowing the development gap among member states and promote trade facilitation, he said.

He added that Laos will promote development of small-medium enterprises and tourism, and boost connectivity within ASEAN.

Laos will also promote the Vientiane declaration on decent work and informal economy in ASEAN as well as the regional cooperation on preservation, protection and promotion of ASEAN culture and heritage, he said.

On February 26-27, Laos will be hosting the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat, which will be chaired by Laos Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Thongloun Sisoulith.

The meeting will be attended by ASEAN foreign ministers, senior officials and delegates as well as the Secretary-General of ASEAN and officials from the ASEAN Secretariat.

Expected to lead the Brunei delegation is Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng.

During the retreat, he said, the ministers are expected to discuss several regional and international issues of common interest covering security and economic matters.

The meeting will also discuss ASEAN’s external relations and its centrality in the evolving regional architecture as well as exchange views on regional and international issues of common interest and concern.

The Brunei Times