The Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith, addressed the 61st UN General Assembly on Monday. In his speech, the Lao Deputy Prime Minister urges UN members to help landlocked developing countries, and expressed his nation's concerns about many ongoing international crises.
Among other things, the Lao Deputy Prime Minister said his country supports the UN General Assembly resolutions that call upon the United States to put an end to the economic, commercial, and financial embargo on Cuba. He also said the situation in the Korean Peninsula, requires that problems should be resolved by peaceful means. And in this regard, the Lao PDR calls for the resumption of the six-party talks based on the principles and commitments as contained in the joint Declaration of September 15, 2005, in order to promote peace and security in the region.
On the domestic front, the Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said that over the past five years Laos' national economy has grown at an annual average rate of 6.3%; poverty incidence has declined from 48% of the population in 1990 to 28.7% in 2006; life expectancy has increased to 61 years, and opium cultivation has been completely eradiated.
The Lao Foreign Minister went on to say that for the coming years, his government will concentrate all efforts and actively mobilize all forces and potential in the country, in conjunction with opportunities and favorable conditions provided by the international community, for the purpose of ensuring successful implementation of the National Socio-Economic Development Plan for the period from 2006-2010, achieving a continual economic growth rate of 7.5% annually.
On the international forum, he said the Lao PDR will further expand its relations and cooperation with the international community as well as contribute actively to the regional integration, particularly the integration of ASEAN member countries with the aim of enhancing the role of the Lao PDR as an efficient partner of the countries in Southeast Asia and other regions in the world.
Listen to more of Mr. Thongloun's speech by clicking on our audio file above.