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9 July 2010

US president praises Laos

US President Barack Obama has congratulated Laos for its efforts to integrate with the Asean community and to address regional issues through negotiation.

He reaffirmed US support for Laos to integrate into the global economy through sending US experts to work closely with Lao officials in the preparation process for Laos to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Mr. Obama was speaking during a ceremony held for the new Lao Ambassador to the U.S., Mr Seng Soukhathivong, to present his credentials to the U.S. president in Washington, DC on June 28.

The US president warmly welcomed the new ambassador and expressed appreciation for the friendship and cooperation between the two countries, especially in regards to combating HIV/AIDS, clearing unexploded ordnance (UXO) and Lao assistance to recover the remains of US soldiers who went missing in action during the Indochina War. He said such cooperation stands Laos and the US in good stead for continued cooperation into the future.

At the ceremony, Mr Seng conveyed the best wishes of Lao President Choummaly Sayasone towards the US president and and his wife.

The new ambassador expressed his thanks to the government and people of the US for providing cooperation and humanitarian assistance in clearing UXO in Laos. Mr. Seng also thanked the US for allowing the EXIM Bank to provide loans for US entrepreneurs to invest in Laos, as well as well asAmerican support for Laos's preparations to join the WTO.

The U.S. president expressed his intention to work with the new ambassador to enhance relations and cooperation between between the two countries. Mr. Seng vowed to do his best to strengthen relations and cooperation between Laos and the US for the benefit of the people of the two nations. Diplomatic relations were established between Laos and the US 55 years ago and have developed and expanded since then.

The scheme covers all production stages including training for farmers on better growing methods, and improvements in rice milling facilities and rice packaging.

The project, which began in January 2010 and will run until October 2011, is being implemented by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry in collaboration with the Swiss Association for International Cooperation (Helvetas) and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV).

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