Foreign Minister Bob Carr today held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos, in Vientiane.
The Ministers discussed regional development, security issues including the recent North Korea nuclear test, Australia’s priorities as a member of the UN Security Council and Laos’ accession to the World Trade Organization.
There was further discussion on Australia’s aid program in Laos, which focuses on education, trade and investment and rural development. Australia is providing around $48 million in aid to Laos in 2012-13.
Senator Carr said he was pleased to announce a second Trade Development Facility for Laos, which would further streamline trade regulatory frameworks, stimulate investment and create jobs.
Senator Carr and Dr Thongloun also exchanged views on regional economic integration through the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and the role of the East Asia Summit (EAS) in facilitating discussion on regional economic, political and security challenges.
Senator Carr’s visit follows Dr Thongloun’s visit to Australia in February 2012 for the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Laos.
Senator Carr will hold talks with Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, and Planning and Investment Minister Somdy Douangdy, on February 20.