Of the 43 member countries of ASEP, over 30 nations will be represented at the 7th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting (ASEP7) to be held in Vientiane on October 3-4. A training session held in Vientiane yesterday for Lao officials who will assist at the meeting explained that some countries were unable to send representatives because they will be holding parliamentary elections at that time.
Those attending the training listened to talks given by officials from the National Assembly, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security, with National Assembly Vice President Dr Xaysomphone Phomvihane giving an address at the opening ceremony. Topics covered included the Lao People's Democratic Party's foreign policy, the work of the National Assembly, the background and significance of ASEP7, preparatory work for the upcoming meeting, security preparations, and a talk by the President of the National Leading Committee on preparations for A SEP7. Other major events taking place in Laos this year include the 50th anniversary of Lao-Vietnamese diplomatic relations and the 35th anniversary of the signing of the Laos-Vietnam Friendship and Cooperation Treaty. Later in the year Laos will host the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit and the Asean University Games. The first ASEP was held in France in 1996, followed by meetings in the Philippines, Vietnam, Finland, China and Belgium. The meeting is hosted every two years alternating between Asia and Europe.
Dr Xaysomphone said ASEP7 is a platform for the parliaments of Asian and European countries to share ideas on political issues, economics and socio-cultural topics.
“This promotes better understanding between the parliaments of both continents,” he said.
The theme of this year's ASEP meeting is Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership for Sustainable Development. ASEP7 Secretariat Head Mr Viseth Savengsuksa said the meeting will take place at the Don Chan Palace hotel. He expected more than 100 participants from Asia and Europe to attend. The slogans for the event are “a warm welcome to all delegations to the 7th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting” and “sincere congratulations on the 7th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting”. The initial address at the opening ceremony will be given by National Assembly President Ms Pany Yathortou, after which there will be a welcome address from Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong. Laos will also organise an accession ceremony to admit new members comprising Australia, Russia, New Zealand and Myanmar. Laos will invite the Secretaries General of the Asean Inter Parliamentary Assembly, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Inter-Parliamentary Union, and representatives of organisations such as the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and International Monetary Fund.
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