Laos. When Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith traveled
to Washington in July, he became the highest-ranking
representative of the Lao government to visit the United
States since the Communist Party took power in the country
in 1975. Thongloun Sisoulith and his US colleague Hillary
Clinton signed, among other things, a civil aviation
agreement. The idea is that the agreement will facilitate
trade and tourism between the countries.
COUNTRYAAH, the first meeting of states that signed the Convention
banning cluster weapons, CCM, was held in the capital
Vientiane in November. The agreement was signed in Oslo in
December 2008 and the Convention came into force on August
1, 2010. Laos is reported to be the country in the world
with the highest concentration of undetected cluster bombs
on its land.
One of the largest hydropower projects in Southeast Asia
was commissioned when the Nam Theun 2 dam was inaugurated.
The dam, built with international assistance, is expected to
provide poor Laos with large income through the export of
electricity to Thailand. The water dam affects tens of
thousands of people along the Xe Bang Fai River.
Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh resigned unexpectedly
in December. He cited family reasons, but judges believed
that internal party riots were the cause. Parliament
appointed Thongsing Thammavong as new head of government.