Asia's newest Communist state, Laos, hosted a glittering reception in the capital Vientiane on Friday (5 December) to celebrate the formation of a new government.
SV Souvanna Phouma (with cane) arriving at reception
CU Souvanna seated with Kaysone
GV PAN ACROSS Audience
SV Souvanna emerges applauding
GV Royal Palace EXTERIOR
SV Souvanna and others seated at table
CU Souvanna at table
SU & CU Kaysone talking to guests (2 shots)
SV Souvanna seated with guests
Initials BB/1800 AMN/DK/BB/1815
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Background: Asia's newest Communist state, Laos, hosted a glittering reception in the capital Vientiane on Friday (5 December) to celebrate the formation of a new government.
Ousted neutralist Premier, Prince Souvanna Phouma, was among those who attended the reception at the former royal palace. Souvanna, aged 74, handed over the reins of government to his half-brother, Prince Souphanouvong, and Kaysone Phomvihan, a member of the Pathet Lao Politburo.
The new government of the People's Democratic Republic of Laos was formed on Thursday (4 December) with Souphanouvong named as President and Kaysone as Premier. The announcement followed the abdication of King Savano Vattana and the dissolving of the coalition government, established 19 months ago under the terms of the 1973 Laos peace agreement.
The 64-year-old Prince Souphanouvong is a popular nationalist figure, who has held the title of chairman of the Pathet Lao's central committee.
Kaysone is little-known but believed to be the Pathet Lao's number one figure. When the Pathet Lao entered the coalition government he remained behind at the movement's jungle headquarters near the North Vietnamese border.
Among those invited to last Friday's reception were members of the foreign diplomatic Corps. They included Thomas Corcoran, Charge d'Affaires of the United States Mission of 30 people in Laos.
The United States will continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Laos. Britain recognised the new government on Friday -- one of the first Western European countries to do so.
SYNOPSIS: The former Premier of Laos, Prince Souvanna Phouma, was among guests at a lavish reception in Vientiane on Friday. The reception -- to celebrate the formation of the new Communist Government ... was also attended by the new Premier, Kaysone Promvihan, believed to be the Pathet Lao's top figure. Seventy-four-year-old Prince Souvanna handed over power to Kaysone and his half brother, Prince Souphanouvong.
The reception was held at the former Royal Palace. The new government follows the abdication of King Savang Vatthana and the dissolving of the coalition government. This was set up nineteen months ago under the terms of the 1973 Laos peace agreement. Prince Souphanouvong, a popular nationalist figure, is the new President and former chairman of the Pathet Lao's central committee. Members of the foreign diplomatic corps -- including Thomas Corcoran of the United States -- were at the reception.