By PNA / Xinhua and U.S. News Agency / Asian
Lao officials have confirmed that so far 10 heads of state and 21 heads of government will attend the upcoming Ninth Asia-Europe Meeting, in Laos’ capital of Vientiane, on Nov. 5 – 6, local media reported Friday.
The ASEM will bring together the top leaders from Asia and Europe to discuss regional and international issues of common interest and concern.
It is expected to be the most important international event yet hosted in Laos, one of South-East Asia’s least developed nations.
Countries whose leaders have confirmed attendance include Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, French President Francois Hollande, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, and heads of state and government from all the ASEAN countries, according to state-run newspaper Vientiane Times.
While all ASEM members have confirmed they will attend the Vientiane meeting, some countries have yet to decide what level of leadership their delegations will comprise of.
Laos’ Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the ASEM9 Secretariat Sub-committee Alounkeo Kittikhoun told local media on Thursday, “ASEM is not just a meeting, but a stage where the leaders of economically advanced and politically powerful countries meet. While leaders from these countries have confirmed their attendance, we also hope that other countries in Asia and Europe will consider sending their leaders to the summit.”<
The ASEM, launched in 1996 and meets every two years, groups 48 members, including the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat, 28 European countries, including 27 EU member states, and 18 Asian members.