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President Choummaly Sayasone has reaffirmed Laos’ commitment to its foreign policy of peace, friendship and cooperation in terms of foreign relations, and to further strengthen and develop relations with its neighbours.
The president was addressing members of the diplomatic corps and resident representatives of international organisations who yesterday visited him and other Lao leaders to extend their best wishes on the 36th anniversary of the founding of the Lao PDR.
Mr Choummaly said the government’s achievements are the result of national solidarity, as well as the tireless efforts of the Lao people under the leadership of the Party, coupled with the invaluable support and assistance provided by friendly countries and international organisations.
The assistance and cooperation extended by friendly countries has enabled Laos to overcome difficulties and challenges, and contribute to the strengthening and promotion of peace, friendship, stability and cooperation for development in the region and the world at large.
Also present at the ceremony were Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Thongloun Sisoulith.
Ambassador of the Republic Union of Myanmar and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and International Organisations, U Nyunt Hlaing, representing diplomats accredited to Laos, also delivered a speech to mark the occasion.
He congratulated the Lao leaders and people on their achievements in pushing for progress in national development over the past 36 years.
“All of us are delighted to see that the newly elected leaders of Laos are working hard to develop Laos, making great efforts in all areas of development as well as opening up new areas. In their united perseverance to reach the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, we believe that these great efforts will culminate in Laos rising above Least Developed Country classification by 2020,” he said.
“Indeed, we can see that the Party, government and people of Laos have, through their united efforts, successfully overcome many challenges facing the world today. Thus the stability of Lao politics has created the rapid development that we are now witnessing.”
Mr Hlaing also talked about issues surrounding climate change and the environmental damage and yearly natural catastrophes in some regions of the world.
“Although Laos, too, has suffered these calamities, with the united efforts of the people and government, and assistance of the international community of donor countries and organisations, we can see that rehabilitation and recovery are proceeding in a truly admirable manner in Laos.”
The diplomats also observed that Laos has continued its ongoing efforts in sustainable development, environmental protection, poverty reduction, human resource development, and the systematic eradication of the curse of UXO.
Mr Hlaing said “As diplomats, we can also see that Laos, in accordance with its foreign policy principles, has excellent relations both with its neighbours and with the international community as demonstrated by the increase in the number of countries (which now number 134) that have diplomatic relations with Laos.”
“Laos also has a long-established and deep cooperation with the United Nations and its agencies. In addition, Laos is also an active member of Asean, and in sub-regional cooperation frameworks.”
The successful diplomacy of Laos has seen the country chosen to host the Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in November next year.
The meeting heard that Laos is satisfied with its many achievements over the past year, including a GDP growth rate of 8.1 percent, which is leading to a gradual improvement in the living standards of the Lao multi-ethnic people.
By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update December 02, 2011)
MANILA, Philippines — Laos marks 36th founding anniversary
The people of Laos commemorate today their 36th founding anniversary, a significant event that reminds them of their rich culture, transformation, progress, and determination of the Lao Government and the Lao multi-ethnic people to move forward the country.
On this occasion, Lao People’s Democratic Republic Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Malayvieng Sakonhninhom tells of the country’s stunning natural beauty and strong spiritual traditions.
A landlocked country, 70 percent of Laos’ land is covered with mountains and high plateaus with fertile soil and abundant mineral deposits such as tin, gold iron, silver, sulfur, and sapphires. The land is still covered with 47 percent of natural tropi-cal forest and serve as sanctuaries of tropical flora and fauna.
The Lao PDR has three main ethnic groups. The “Lao Loum” or lowlanders represent 68 percent of the total population and occupy the plain land located in the valley of the Mekong River and its tributaries. The Mekong River flows from North to South for 1898 km, with waterfalls called Khonepapheng located in the southern part of the Lao.
The “Lao Theung” or uplanders make up 22 percent of the total population and occupy the plateaus and the slopes of the mountains.
The “Lao Sung” or hill tribes represent 10 percent of the total population and occupy the high altitude areas of the mountains (1,000 meters and upwards).
With its rich cultural traditions and customs, Lao PDR observes a variety of festivals and religious events throughout the year.
In January, the Hmong ethnic group celebrate “Boun Kin Jiang,” highlighting the “Mak Khone” where young Hmong men and women throw a ball to each other in order to find the right partner.
The “Boun WatPhou Champasak” is held during February which was held at UNESCO world heritage site. “Boun Pha Vet” on the same month commemorates King Vessanthara’s reincarnation as the Buddha which highlights fortune-telling during month of March.
In April, “Boun PiMai” is celebrated by the community by splashing water on each other; “Boun Bangfai” or the rocket festival is held at the beginning of the rainy season during May; farmers prepare for rice plantation during the raining season called “Boun Tok Kar” in June; “Boun Khao Phansa” is the beginning of Buddhist lent in July, where meditation is practiced by going to the temple to listen to the chants. It is the time to abstain from evil, perform virtues, and purify one’s mind.
“Boun Khao Padabdin is observed in August by making offerings to the dead, while “Boun Khao Salak” in September where the Lao Buddhists make food as an offering to their dead.
October marks the end of the monks’ or Buddhist lent which is called “Boun Aok Phansa”; while the month of November celebrates the “Boun Suang Huei” or the boat racing festival.
December marks the “Boun ThatLuang,” a three-day religious festival celebrated at the nation’s most sacred Stupa called “That Luang”.