Barack Obama photo

Remarks at a State Luncheon Hosted by President Bounnyang Vorachit of Laos in Vientiane, Laos

September 06, 2016

[President Bounnyang made brief remarks. He spoke in Lao, but no transcript was provided because the translation was inaudible.]

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.

[President Obama offered a toast.]

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:17 a.m. in the Dok Boua Ban Room at the Presidential Palace. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

Barack Obama, Remarks at a State Luncheon Hosted by President Bounnyang Vorachit of Laos in Vientiane, Laos Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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