Press Release 2012
U.S. Secretary of State Makes Historic Visit to Laos
July 11, 2012
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a historic visit to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on July 11, becoming the first American Secretary of State to step foot in Laos in 57 years.
Secretary Clinton’s brief visit included meetings with her Lao counterpart, Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, as well as Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Secretary Clinton and her delegation discussed the full range of bilateral affairs with their Lao counterparts. Key areas of discussion included Laos’ role in ASEAN-led regional cooperation; the Lower Mekong Initiative; the status of Laos’ progress towards the Millennium Development Goals; and both nations’ continuing determination to resolve the remaining Indochina War issues, such as Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and the recovery of unaccounted-for personnel.
Secretary Clinton’s visit also included a tour of the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) Center to learn more about efforts to assist victims of UXO in Laos. She used the opportunity to stress the U.S. government’s continued support for UXO removal operations, to which the U.S. has committed $68 million in funding since 1993.
In addition, the Secretary made a visit to the Ho Phrakeo Museum to see one of Laos most famous and historic cultural sites. While at Ho Phrakeo, she announced that an additional $215,000 in U.S. support had recently been approved for preservation of the iconic Wat Xieng Thong temple in the World Heritage city of Luang Prabang, as part of the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation program.
Before departing the country, Secretary Clinton met with Lao and American staff of the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane to thank them for their dedication to improving U.S.-Lao relations.