On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on your National Day on December 2.
This year, the United States and Laos marked 55 years of diplomatic relations, and I was honored to welcome Deputy Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith to Washington in July for the most senior-level visit from Laos since 1975. Laos has made notable political, social, and economic progress in recent years, and our two countries have done a great deal to strengthen our bilateral relationship. From signing a landmark Open Skies Agreement that facilitates international travel, to increasing military-to-military cooperation, to collaborating in the fight against pandemic diseases, the United States is committed to working with Laos in areas of mutual interest. We will continue working together to reduce the impact of unexploded ordnance from previous conflicts, address education and environmental challenges in the Lower Mekong region, and promote sustainable economic development. As part of these endeavors, we support the Lao Government’s efforts to join the World Trade Organization and to fully implement our Bilateral Trade Agreement.
On this festive occasion, I wish all Lao people a happy celebration with peace and prosperity in the coming year.