VIENTIANE, 5 February 2016 – ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh led a team of top level ASEAN Secretariat staff in a working visit to Vientiane on Feb. 4-5 in support of Lao PDR 2016 chairmanship of ASEAN. His first stop was at the Prime Minister’s Office where he paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong.
PM Thammavong noted that 2016 is the first year since ASEAN became a Community and it is crucial to effectively implement the ASEAN Community 2025 and its Blueprints. Further, he highlighted the important role of the ASEAN Secretariat in supporting the ASEAN Chair and the ASEAN Member States toward the further integration and consolidation of the ASEAN Community. For his part, Sec-Gen Minh remarked that ASEAN’s work in 2016 will set the tone for further consolidation and continued integration for the next ten years. He said that bringing more benefits and opportunities to ASEAN peoples will be the ultimate measure of ASEAN’s success.
While in Vientiane, Sec-Gen Minh and his delegation also paid courtesy calls to Ministers of key government agencies that are vital to the continued integration of the newly established ASEAN Community. Sec-Gen Minh and the political-security department team met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Thongloun Sisoulith. During the brief meeting, both sides noted the growing interest from external partners around the world to engage with ASEAN as well as the challenges facing ASEAN including enhancing cross sectoral coordination, ratification of legal instruments and raising ASEAN awareness.
The ASEAN Secretariat’s economic department team led by Sec-Gen Minh called on Madame Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce. During the courtesy call, both sides noted the priorities for the inaugural year of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), including the completion of pending key measures from AEC 2015, and discussed the priority deliverables under Lao PDR’s ASEAN Chairmanship.
Meanwhile, a brief meeting also took place between Sec-Gen Minh, accompanied by the ASEAN Secretariat’s socio-cultural department officials, and Prof. Dr. Borsengkham Vongdara, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism. They discussed the 2016 ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community priorities and initial plans for critical meetings that Lao PDR will host and highlighted the need for strong coordination between Lao PDR and the ASEAN secretariat.
On the second day of the visit, the ASEAN Secretariat delegations led by the respective Deputy Secretaries-General had simultaneous break-out sessions with their counterparts from the Lao government for an exchange of updates and to identify areas where the Secretariat can provide support to the Chair.
Lao PDR has chosen the theme “Turning Vision Into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community” for its 2016 Chairmanship of ASEAN. It is expected to emphasise people-oriented and people-centered priorities during its leadership of the Association. The last time it chaired ASEAN was in 2004.
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