U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia W. Patrick Murphy visited the Lao PDR on Jan 16 and 17. Speaking about the U.S.-Lao relationship Mr. Murphy said, “Our joint future is bright as we work together to realize the promise of the Comprehensive Partnership.” He outlined several key areas where the U.S. and Laos can strengthen their partnership including accelerating UXO clearance, investing in human and institutional development, and expanding economic and people-to-people ties.
While in Vientiane, Deputy Assistant Secretary Murphy discussed ways to build on the Comprehensive Partnership with Deputy Foreign Minister H.E. Mr. Sengpheth Houngbounyuang. Deputy Assistant Secretary Murphy also met with the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce H.E. Mr. Somchith Inthamith to discuss stronger economic ties between the U.S. and Laos. In addition, he spoke with Deputy Minister of Health H.E. Dr. Phouthone Muongpak about U.S.-Lao cooperation in the health sector, including the Lao-American Nutrition Institute (LANI).
During his trip to Xieng Khunag Province Deputy Assistant Secretary Murphy saw firsthand the important work that UXO Lao clearance teams are doing with U.S. funding. Last September while visiting Vientiane, President Obama announced the doubling of U.S. support for the UXO sector to $90 million over three years.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy is a career diplomat who previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’affaires in Thailand (2013-2016) and Lesotho (2006-2008). He has also served as Special Representative for Burma, Director of the Office for Mainland Southeast Asia, and desk officer for Laos and Burma.