This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks by President Obama at a State Luncheon with President Bounnhang of Laos

Presidential Palace
Vientiane, Laos

11:17 A.M. ICT

*Inaudible interpretation for President Bounnhang.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen -- on behalf of myself and my entire delegation, thank you so much for the warm welcome you’ve extended to us today. 

In addition to the work that we are doing together, I very much look forward to experiencing the culture and the cuisine of Laos.  I understand there’s a saying in Laos that “sweet makes you dizzy and bitter makes you healthy,” and I’m looking forward to being both healthy, and maybe a little dizzy as well, by the end of this meal.

As the first U.S. President to visit this nation, I know my visit comes at a very important time.  I won’t make long remarks here; I’ll be speaking later this afternoon.  But for now, let me simply say how much I hope that our new partnership will mean greater progress and opportunity for the people of Laos.

I understand that there’s a ceremony that’s often performed here that’s based on the idea that the body has 32 souls, and in bad times some souls go missing.  Blessings are given when they return and when the body is whole again. 

So I propose a toast to the dignity and the future of the people of Laos.  And to Mr. President and the government, as well as the people -- may this visit and our work together be another step towards making the relationship between our two countries whole again. 

Som seuy.  (A toast is given.) 

11:21 A.M. ICT