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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Laos to host regional summits in March

Laos to host regional summits in March
Laos will host the 6th CLMV Summit (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) and the 5th ACMECS Summit (Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy) in Vientiane from March 11-13.

The 7th Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Summit, which will be hosted by Vietnam, will also take place in Vientiane at the same time.

Vietnam had originally planned to host this summit last year but decided to postpone the meeting. Vietnam now takes this opportunity to host the summit as regional leaders gather together.

Yesterday, the CLMV Senior Officials' Meeting and the ACMECS Senior Officials' Meeting took place in Vientiane chaired by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bounkeut Sangsomsak.

Senior officials from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam met to prepare for the CLMV Summit and senior officials from the four countries and Thailand met to discuss the ACMECS Summit.

“Today, officials discussed and exchanged opinions on several matters in preparation for the two summits. Regarding the CLMV, we discussed issues related to connectivity within the four countries and agreed to make full use of the roads we have built for our ultimate benefit, including Road No. 9,” Bounkeut told media yesterday.

“One of the important things is to address our shortcomings, such as practical problems with the one-stop service.

This service is considered very important as it provides quicker results and facilitates the passage of goods and people, contributing to the effective use of the East-West and North-South Economic Corridors as well as other major road links. We have discussed how to address this issue.”

Bounkeut said CLMV senior officials have also discussed tourism cooperation, accepting that tourism in the four countries has grown rapidly over the past few years.

In 2012, the CLMV countries received over 14.8 million international visitors, an increase of more than 19.7 per cent compared to 2011.

The senior officials also touched upon 16 cooperation projects between the CLMV countries. Of the total, eight are underway and some have been completed. The remaining projects will start within the next two years.

They also discussed assistance provided to the CLMV countries by the Japanese government worth US$20 million.

Of this, Laos received funding to finance five projects and to improve services along Road No. 9 in Savannakhet province.

The CLMV Summit is a very important meeting under the Asean framework. The first CLMV Summit was held in November 2004 in Vientiane and saw the adoption of the Vientiane Declaration on enhancing economic cooperation and integration among the member countries.

Currently, the priority areas for cooperation include trade and investment, transportation, industry and energy, human resource development, agriculture, ICT, health, and regional economic integration.

ACMECS is a cooperation framework between Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to utilise member countries' diverse strengths and to promote balanced development in the sub-region.

The first ACMECS Summit was held in 2003 in Bagan, Myanmar. Currently, eight priority areas of cooperation include facilitation for trade and investment, agriculture, industry and energy, road connectivity, tourism, human resource development, health and the environment.