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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    8 June 2012

Asem Summit (Asia-Europe meetings) ready to be held in Laos

07 June 2012

Laos is ready to host the Asian-Europe Parliamentary (Asep) Meeting and Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) Summit scheduled for October 3-4 and November 5-6 respectively, even though some venues are still under construction.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Thongloun Sisoulith announced the country's readiness yesterday at a press conference held at the Vientiane Administrative Office, shortly after a meeting to discuss the progress of preparations.

"The Lao PDR is ready to host the 7th Asep and 9th Asem,” Thongloun announced.

He said the organising committee has four more months to complete ongoing preparations and perfect arrangements for the biggest meetings ever to be hosted by Laos.

"Preparations have been under way for almost a year. Now it can be said that everything is in a state of readiness,” he reiterated.

The meeting contents (topics for discussion), infrastructure and other facilities necessary for the smooth running of the meetings have been prepared, he added.

Topics expected to be tabled at the Asem Summit are significant issues in Asia and Europe, issues relating to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, sustainable development, nuclear nonproliferation, terrorism, piracy, energy and food security, human trafficking, disaster and water management, drug smuggling and the financial crisis in the Eurozone and its impact.

Some 51 delegations from the two regions are expected to participate in each meeting.

The Asem business forum and a people-to-people forum will also take place.

The Mayor of Vientiane, ministers and representatives from central level organisations, district governors and local authorities attended yesterday's meeting.
Thongloun informed participants that Wattay International Airport is able to accommodate 38 aeroplanes, noting that it should be able to accommodate all incoming planes during the meetings .

Construction of the Asem villas to accommodate the Asem leaders is on track, said Thongloun, promising the work would be finished ahead of the event.
Officials reported that hotels in Vientiane are able to accommodate 14,000 people, which will be sufficient for the number of Asem delegates. Participant numbers are expected to reach 4,000, including overseas reporters.

Meeting participants expressed confidence that Laos will be able to host the Asia-Europe meetings successfully as Laos has already hosted several regional and international conferences.

In 2004, Laos hosted the Asean Summit when the prime ministers of Asean's 10 member states and their counterparts from the organisation's dialogue partners convened in Vientiane.

Three years later, Laos hosted the Francophonie ministerial meeting. Foreign ministers and ministers in charge of Francophonie affairs in the 55 permanent member countries, as well as 13 observer countries, attended the meeting.

In 2010, Laos hosted the first meeting of states parties to the Oslo Treaty when 124 countries sent delegations to the event.

Yesterday's meeting agreed that the two upcoming events would significantly raise Laos' status in the regional and international arena.

Thongloun suggested that the authorities clean up Vientiane to impress delegates. He called on people from all walks of life, especially the residents of Vientiane, to participate in the hosting of the meetings.

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