In an important symbol of the United States’ commitment and enduring relationship with the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos, U.S. Ambassador Daniel A. Clune, and State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedydedicated the new $150 million American Embassy in Vientiane in a red, white and blue ceremony attended by representatives of the Lao government, media, and members of the diplomatic community.
“This new facility is a strong symbol of the U.S. government’s commitment to work with the Lao PDR to strengthen our bilateral relationship in ways that will benefit both our nations. Next month marks the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Laos and the United States. We expect this embassy will serve us well in coming years as we work towards new milestones,” Undersecretary Kennedy said in his opening remarks.
The new Embassy campus, located in Ban Somvang Tai Village, Hatsayphong District, is situated on a 7.4-acre site in a mixed-use neighborhood, close to the Mekong River. With a project budget of $145 million, it includes a Chancery, a U.S. Marine Security Guard residence, a parking structure, and a utility building. The former Embassy site in the downtown area will be renovated and continue to support the Embassy. The renovations, scheduled for completion in late 2015, will include a new American Center, which will be free and open to the Lao public.
“I am proud to say that the U.S. contributes nearly $45 million annually in bilateral assistance to Laos from health, and education, to economic development and environmental protection, and more, and we look forward to working with our Lao counterparts to expanding that cooperation over the coming years” Ambassador Clune said.
The two and a half year construction project put more than 900 Lao craftspeople, laborers, office staff, and security personnel to work, and the project incorporates numerous sustainable features to conserve resources and reduce operating costs, including energy-efficient appliances, photovoltaic panels, solar hot water heaters, and drought-resistant landscaping. All wastewater generated on-site is treated and used for site irrigation.