U.S. Ambassador Daniel A. Clune travelled to Savannakhet Province from February 12-17, in order to visit American projects in the province and to witness the economic growth and social development of the area. He met with Governor Souphanh Keomexay during the visit, and the two exchanged views on increasing investment and trade in the fast-growing province.
The Ambassador stopped in Sepon district to visit the U.S.-funded activities of HALO Trust, which includes clearing areas containing unexploded ordnance (UXO). The United States is currently contributing $9 million per year to UXO activities in Laos and expects funding to increase in the near future.
The Ambassador later joined local villagers and U.S. service members from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Sepon district as they searched a crash site for a U.S. pilot still missing-in-action from the war. He then visited a school in Dongsavanh which benefits from a U.S.-sponsored school feeding program. The United States is currently contributing $12 million over three years to provide meals to encourage Lao schoolchildren to stay in school.
From Sepon, the Ambassador travelled to Lane Xang Minerals Limited/Sepon copper mine in Vilaybury district. At the mine, he saw all phases of copper production, from excavation to refining. He also learned about LMXL’s use of new technologies to clear UXO from mining sites, as well as the mine’s employment practices and community development efforts.
The last stop on Ambassador Clune’s schedule was at the Savan Seno Special Economic Zone (SEZ), where he received a briefing by SEZ officials and toured the Essilor and Aeroworks manufacturing operations.