Khurshid to visit Laos for summit

As the new External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid will make his first foreign trip to Laos for the two-day Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) next week.

It is learnt that Khurshid will attend the meeting in Vientiane on November 5 and 6.

He is also expected to hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit, including with the representative from China.

The heads of state and government of the 27 members of the European Union and the European Commission meet their counterparts from 16 Asian countries, ASEAN Secretariat as well as new entrants Australia, New Zealand and Russia at ASEM.

While Khurshid will be briefed about his first overseas engagement later this week, he held preparatory meetings on Monday for his first diplomatic engagement on Tuesday, when he is scheduled to meet former Bangladeshi prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia, who is currently visiting India.

Khurshid received his first congratulatory message from Bangladeshi foreign minister Dipu Moni, in which she recalled his recent visit to Dhaka earlier this year.

Khurshid also met senior External Affairs Ministry officials, who briefed him about the coming conference of Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Countries (IOR-ARC) being held in Gurgaon on November 2.

The meeting is expected to be attended by about 10 foreign ministers, including those from Iran, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Seychelles, Yemen and Oman, among others.

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