VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN): The visiting Secretary General of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean), Dr Kao Kim Hourn, has said the Asean Secretariat stads ready to assist Laos in achieving its goals and objectives as chair of the regional bloc in 2024.
The Asean Secretariat chief paid a working trip to Laos on November 29 at the invitation of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Saleumxay Kommasith, to work with the Lao side in preparing for the country’s Asean chairmanship.
Calling on Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, Dr Kao pledged to help Laos to achieve its goals and objectives as the chair and as envisioned in the chairmanship’s theme of “Enhancing Connectivity and Resilience”.
Dr Kao reaffirmed the secretariat’s support to Laos as the region transitions beyond post-pandemic recovery and moves toward the Asean Community Vision 2045, the Asean Secretariat said on its website.
At the talks with Mr Saleumxay, both sides discussed ways to strategise Asean’s priorities under the political-security pillar, which Mr Saleumxay is in-charge of for Laos.
While meeting the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Malaythong Kommasith, who is in-charge of economic pillar, Dr Kao expressed his commitment to assisting Laos, particularly in supporting the delivery of priority economic deliverables.
“He (Dr Kao) further reiterated the Secretariat’s steadfast commitment in supporting Lao PDR, especially as Asean undertakes a series of ongoing upgrade negotiations of Asean Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and new ASEAN+1 FTA negotiations, which would further consolidate regional economic integration and bring prosperity to the region,” the Asean Secretariat said.
Dr Kao also held talks with the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Suanesavanh Vignaket, who is in-charge of the socio-cultural pillar.
He was briefed about the progress made by Laos in preparing to chair the regional grouping, the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Speaking to the local media recently, Mr Saleumxay, who is also deputy head of the National Steering Committee on Preparation for and Implementation of Laos’ Asean Chairmanship, said the country is ready to take on the chairmanship of Asean next year. He added that preparations for this were almost 100 percent complete. - Vientiane Times/ANN