His Excellency Phanthong Phommahaxay granted VOA-Lao Service an exclusive interview prior to his journey back to Laos upon completing his assignment in Washington D.C. as the Lao PDR extraordinary ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico. Before coming to Washington, Mr. Phanthong had served as ambassador to Australia and Germany.
In this part one of a two-part interview, the Lao Ambassador discussed US-Laos relations and cooperation which he said have been good and have steadily expanded in all areas, including MIA/POWs, unexploded ordnance removal, and counter-narcotics. But the Lao ambassador said the most important achievement during his tenure is the granting of the Normal Trade Relations to Laos and the signing of the bilateral trade agreement. He told VOA,
“I am very proud to serve as the Ambassador for the Lao PDR in Washington. Many important events have taken place during my tenure, such as visits by US officials to Laos including a visit by Congresswoman Betty McCollum of Minnesota in December, and a few months before that, a visit by Admiral Fallon, Commander of the US Pacific Fleet. Also there were visits by members of the La0-American Institute, of the Khmu and the Hmong communities, as well as the Lao-American Chamber of Commerce. But the highlight of my career is receiving the NTR status for Laos. In summary, the overall relations between America and Laos are great.”
Listen to our audio for more details.
VOA will bring you Part Two of the interview with Ambassador Phanthong next Thursday. Please stay tuned.