United States - Laos Strategic Dialogue
United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Mr. Daniel Russel and Laos Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Madame Sounthone Xayachack met in Washington on June 19, 2015 to co-chair the sixth United States – Lao Strategic Dialogue. Highlighting the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Lao relationship this year, the co-chairs noted that it is stronger and more dynamic than ever.
Assistant Secretary Russel emphasized U.S. commitment to constructive and beneficial relations with both Laos and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including assisting Laos in preparation for its chairmanship of ASEAN in 2016. The U.S. and Lao delegations also reviewed mechanisms to facilitate and encourage bilateral trade and investment. They agreed on goals for a comprehensive U.S. development assistance program in Laos, valued at over $40 million in 2014, focused on nutrition, education, trade, the environment, justice, and anti-narcotics.
Both sides reviewed the current breadth of cooperation on the accounting for U.S. personnel still missing, the removal of unexploded ordinance (UXO), and people-to-people exchanges, as well as a range of regional issues. Assistant Secretary Russel announced that the United States will further increase its funding to the UXO sector in Laos, from $13 million to $15 million.