Foreign Minister Bob Carr will this week visit Laos and Thailand for talks with government, business leaders and representatives of health and non-government organisations.
Thailand is Australia's ninth largest trading partner. In Thailand, Senator Carr will hold talks Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Surapong Tovichakchaikul on regional development and security. This builds on the visit by Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck to Australia in 2012.
Senator Carr will also meet with Australian business representatives in Thailand.
In Laos, Senator Carr will meet Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Dr Thongloun Sisoulith and the Planning and Investment Minister, Somdy Douangdy.
Senator Carr will discuss programs to reduce the incidence of avoidable blindness and meet Australian volunteer surgical teams. Australia is one of the largest bilateral aid donors to Laos, providing $47.8 million in 2012-13.
Senator Carr will also inspect Australian-funded work to safely remove unexploded ordnance in regional Laos. One third of Laos is contaminated by unexploded ordnance from previous conflicts. Since 1996 Australia has provided more than $24 million in related assistance.
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