Their Majesties welcome Laos President and spouse
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha yesterday granted an audience to the President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Choummaly Sayasone and spouse, Dr Keosaychay Sayasone who are in the country for a three-day State visit.

Earlier His Majesty and Her Majesty welcomed Mr Choummaly Sayasone and Dr Keosaychay at Istana Nurul Iman and went up to the dais for the royal salute. National anthems of both countries were also played to 21-gun salutes. The two leaders later inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Royal Brunei Land Forces.

The Laos President and spouse were introduced to members of the royal family, state dignitaries, Cabinet Ministers, deputy ministers, representative of the Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Acting Commissioner of Police, head of foreign missions, permanent secretaries at the PM's Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and their spouses.

His Majesty and Her Majesty in return were introduced to members of the delegation of the President of the Lao PDR.

Later, the audience ceremony was held. Also present were His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, HRH Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik, HRH Princess Hjh Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah, HRH Princess Hjh Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah, HRH Princess Hjh Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah, HRH Princess Hjh Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, HRH Princess Hjh Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam and other members of the royal family.

Earlier, HRH Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah and HRH Princess Hjh Masna welcomed the President of Lao PDR and spouse at the Brunei International Airport.

Also present were the Minister of Education, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar, as the minister-in-attendance, and spouse.

The President of Lao PDR and spouse were ushered into a motorcade heading towards Istana Nurul Iman where some 2,500 students lined up along the main road towards the palace, waving the flags of both countries to welcome the State visit of the President.

During their stay in the country, the Laos President and spouse will visit BSP Sdn Bhd, hear a briefing by Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), visit Royal Regalia and the Arts and Handicraft Training Centre today.

Yesterday, the Laos President and spouse cruised along the Brunei river and visited Kg Tamoi Ujung and attended a banquet.

The Laos President is leading a 10-member delegation including Dr Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Phongsavath Boupha, Minister and Head of Presidential Office; Mounkeo Oraboun, Minister of Information and Culture; Dr Sinlavong Khoutphaythoun, Minister of Planning and Investment; and Dr Nam Viyaketh, Minister of Industry and Trade. - Borneo Bulletin (23rd November 2010)