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Center For Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 318, Washington, D.C., 20006 USA
Tele.: 202.543.1444  Fax: 202.318.0652

For Immediate Release:  Updated 10-1-2000 Washington, D.C.
Contact:  Paul Christopher (202) 543-1444


U.S. Senate Stops Confirmation Of
Nominee For Ambassadorship Amid Growing Concerns About
U.S. Policy in Laos

As the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic's (LPDR) 25th birthday approaches, the nation of Laos appears to be suffering from a deepening economic, political and security crisis.  Against this backdrop, the confirmation of a potential new U. S. Ambassador to Laos was blocked on the U. S. Senate floor recently.

"In a little noticed, but enormously significant move, the nominated U. S. Ambassador to Laos was firmly blocked on the U. S. Senate floor late Wednesday, September 25, by Senator Bob Smith (R-NH), said Philip Smith, Executive Director, of the Center for Public Policy Analysis.  Continued Smith: "There appears to be many ongoing concerns in the U.S. Congress and in the Laotian Diaspora community about the serious shortcomings of current U.S. policy toward Laos.  Hence, it appears that the full U. S. Senate may not approve confirmation of the nominated U.S. Ambassador designate in the final days of the 106th session of the U.S. Congress.  There is a view in some circles that the U.S. approach in Laos, in terms of the formulation and implementation of policy, has been shallow, at best, and that a far more rational and careful approach maybe necessary in the future."

The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (ISS) recently characterized the Communist regime in Laos as confronting its worst crisis in 25 years, with the possibility of increased instability with broader regional and international consequences.