Clinton visits Laos ahead of ASEAN summit

July 11, 2012 at 9:25 AM
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VIENTIANE, Laos, July 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Laos Wednesday to meet with the country's leaders before a summit of South East Asian foreign ministers.

During her meeting with Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Secretary Clinton discussed Laos' pending entry into the World Trade Organization and U.S. assistance in Laos' efforts to dispose of unexploded ordinance safely, Voice of America reported.

She also visited a non-profit orthotic and prosthetic cooperative, partially funded by the United States, that assists Laotians injured by still-live cluster munitions dropped during U.S. bombing missions between 1964 and 1975.

Officials said the two governments agreed to enhance efforts to account for troops still missing from the Vietnam war. Clinton and Sisoulith also discussed environmental issues and investment in the Lower Mekong River Delta, VOA said.

U.S. and Laotian leaders met on the eve of an Association of South East Asian Nations meeting in Cambodia.

Clinton's visit to Laos is the first by a U.S. secretary of state since John Foster Dulles in 1955. Sisoulith visited the United States in 2010, the first such visit by a senior Laotian official in more than three decades.

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