Australian Foreign Minister to visit Lao PDR
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Julie Bishop MP, will seek to add
further depth to Australia’s already close relationship with the Lao PDR on her
first official visit to the country later this week.
On her 4-5 July visit, Foreign Minister Bishop will seek to continue the
momentum of growing regional and global cooperation and high-level
exchanges between the Lao PDR and Australia over recent years.
Ms Bishop will also underline Australia’s commitment to continue to support
the Lao PDR’s economic development.
Australia remains one of the Lao PDR’s major development partners, with an annual program of over
AUD $60 million (LAK440 billion) in education, human resource development, rural development,
UXO clearance and victim support, trade and business reform, natural resource management and
market-focused agricultural research.
The Foreign Minister will discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues with Prime Minister, H.E. Mr
Thongsing Thammavong, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H.E. Dr Thongloun
She will discuss parliamentary cooperation and exchanges with National Assembly President, H.E.
Mrs Pany Yathortou, and launch a major new A$86 million (LAK 631 billion) Australian initiative in
basic education together with Minister of Education and Sports, H.E. Dr Phankham Viphavanh.
Foreign Minister Bishop will discuss opportunities to strengthen two-way trade and investment in
meetings with Minister of Industry and Commerce, H.E. Mrs Khemmani Pholsena, and with
Australian business representatives.
Ms Bishop will also meet senior Lao women leaders to discuss Australian support to promote
women’s economic empowerment and leadership, including the status of gender parity as a national
development priority in the next National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP).
Australia and the Lao PDR celebrated the 60th
anniversary of bilateral relations in 2012 – the Lao
PDR’s longest unbroken diplomatic relationship at Ambassador level.
More than 1,000 Lao graduates have studied in Australia under Australian Government scholarships.
Over 200 Lao students from disadvantaged backgrounds have received Australian scholarships to
obtain professional qualifications from the National University of Laos.