It's time to hand over the baton to Laos. Let us continue strengthening collaboration and cooperation for a prosperous ASEAN…
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Laos symbolically took over the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from Indonesia this year and will host ASEAN in 2024 with the promise of building an increasingly connected and resilient ASEAN.

"Laos received the honor to become chairman of ASEAN in 2024. We will work to reaching a more connected and resilient ASEAN," Laos Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone said at the closing ceremony of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta on Thursday.

Siphandone received the baton of the ASEAN chairmanship from Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) at the ceremony. The ASEAN chairmanship of Laos will raise the theme "Enhancing Connectivity and Resilience."

The Laos PM also extended his deepest congratulations to President Widodo and the Indonesian people for the successful holding of the 43rd ASEAN Summit.

"We really lauded the achievements achieved by ASEAN under Indonesia's chairmanship, which carries the theme 'ASEAN is Important: Epicentrum Growth,'" he said.

According to him, Laos will continue the success of Indonesia's chairmanship by making a number of collective efforts.

"We will continue collective efforts, such as further focus on the ASEAN community and creating opportunities in facing geopolitical and geo-economic challenges and changes," Siphandone said.

He added that during its chairmanship, Laos will expand ASEAN's external relations, strengthen ASEAN centrality and unity, as well as develop a regional architecture for stability, peace, and development in the ASEAN region.

"We will also boost connectivity, narrow the development gap (among ASEAN countries), support the achievement of carbon neutrality, and drive digital transformation in the region," he said.

Laos is ready to work with other ASEAN members and its partners for the success of its chairmanship, Siphandone added.

"We look forward to welcoming you all to Laos," he said.

Meanwhile, President Widodo conveyed his appreciation to the leaders of ASEAN countries and partner countries who attended the 43rd ASEAN Summit.

He said that during the meetings, he drew optimism from all those present.

This, according to him, strengthened his hope and enthusiasm to continue the struggle in realizing a peaceful, just, and prosperous ASEAN region.

"It's time to hand over the baton to Laos. Let us continue strengthening collaboration and cooperation for a prosperous ASEAN and make the world a better place for all," Widodo said.

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Translator: Asri Mayang Sari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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