European and Asian leaders flooding otherwise quiet Laos’ capital Vientiane which is hosting the 9th Asem summit Monday and Tuesday this week.
Finland, Sweden and Denmark has been members of Asem since it starts in 1996 but to Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Norway this Asem summit will be a debut.
Norway officially becomes a member of Asem 2:10 PM today when Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister of the Lao PDR welcomes Stoltenberg and Norway together with Bangladesh and Switzerland. The ceremony is scheduled to last 10 minutes with the host welcoming and the three new members making statements which may be assumed to be very brief.
The enlargement ceremony will be followed by the opening ceremony where Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission will be among the speakers.
While the Prime Ministers and head of states will discuss food and energy security, sustainable development, financial and economic crisis, climate change, natural disaster response, socio-cultural cooperation and future direction of ASEM, their spouses will be visiting two temples today and tomorrow looking at handicraft from Lao.