Laos. During the first months of the year, an escalation
of the guerrilla attacks in central L., where an armed group
of the hmong people fought the communist regime since 1975.
was reported. in the capital, where deaths were claimed and
many people injured.
COUNTRYAAH, several people were injured when a bomb dropped on a
bicycle exploded at the entrance to Vientiane's
international airport in November. The attack happened just
before Vietnam's foreign minister arrived for a meeting with
the Southeast Asian foreign ministers. Prior to the meeting,
the Lao government had assured that there was no threat to
the safety of the visiting dignitaries.
At the Foreign Minister's meeting, the Ganges-Mekong
cooperation body was formed with L., India, Burma, Cambodia,
Thailand and Vietnam as members. The organization is
intended to strengthen cooperation on education, culture and
tourism. The meeting was followed by a state visit by
China's President Jiang Zemin. Assessors saw Jiang's visit
as an attempt to displace Vietnam as L's most important
In its annual report on religious freedom in the world,
the United States acknowledged L. that the country made
great progress in securing the freedom of residents to
practice their religion.