ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
‘Laos can tap Brunei’s experience in ASEAN’
Officials from Laos were recently in Brunei to learn from the sultanate’s success in chairing ASEAN two years ago as the country prepares to assume the bloc’s chairmanship next year.
In a recent interview with The Brunei Times, Lao Ambassador to Brunei Amphay Kindavong said the four officials were here to meet former Bruneian liaison officers who were involved in organising the ASEAN Summit in 2013.
“Brunei Darussalam successfully hosted the ASEAN Summit and did an excellent job two years ago. That’s why our representatives are here to learn from Brunei’s experiences, hoping that Laos will host the summit smoothly next year too,” he said.
He said Laos’ experience in handling the Asia-Europe Summit in 2012 would also help ensure that next year’s ASEAN Summit runs smoothly.
Speaking on the sidelines of a luncheon Thursday for the visiting officials, Kindavong said Laos has proposed holding a back-to-back summit as opposed to the usual format where host countries chair two summits in a year.
“This is because we are also having our national congress during the first half of the year, so it will be a busy year for our country,” he said.
Kindavong said his country is ready to chair the ASEAN Summit next year, which will mark the second time that Laos will be taking over the rotating chairmanship.
Meanwhile, the head of the visiting Lao delegation said they learned the technical aspects of the summit, especially its proceedings and preparations.
Nuanvilay Rattanakone from the Laos Institute of Foreign Affairs said the Brunei visit included observing protocols, identifying ASEAN departments from each country, touring the International Convention Centre as the summit venue and meeting security agencies.
“The Lao chairmanship for ASEAN Summit 2016 is quite significant, as it will be the first year after the official establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of this year in Malaysia. It will be a challenge as country members will gather for the first time to discuss the AEC,” she added.
Speaking on regional economic integration, Ambassador Kindavong said the Lao Embassy here is actively initiating talks and discussions to achieve the AEC target.
“As a matter of fact, I recently went to Kuala Belait to visit a local private company to look into business opportunities in Laos and promote Brunei to established businesses back in Laos at the same time.
“We work hard to promote these exchanges and support the AEC apart from improving multilateral cooperation between ASEAN member countries. That is our duty,” he added.
Kindavong also praised the Brunei-US English Language Enrichment Programme for ASEAN and hoped it will be continued.
“Lao citizens are also among the participants, joining participants from other ASEAN country members. The participants will spend 11 weeks – two months in Brunei and nine months in Hawaii – to promote English language proficiency and associated skills upon their return to their home countries.”
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