Prospects for a ceasefire in Laos, paralleling the Vietnam peace settlement, have been brightened by meetings between the Laotian Government and the Communist Pathet Lao.
MV & SV Pathet Lao delegation arriving (2 shots)
SV PAN I.C.C. member arriving
GV INT Delegates seated
SCU & MV Pathet Laos leader seated (2 shots)
GV Delegates seated (2 shots)
GV & SV EXTERIOR Pathet Leo leaving (2 shots)
Initials BB/0043 DS/DW/BB/0053
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Background: Prospects for a ceasefire in Laos, paralleling the Vietnam peace settlement, have been brightened by meetings between the Laotian Government and the Communist Pathet Lao.
The second meeting in four days was held on Tuesday (February 6) between Pathet Lao leader Phoumi Vongvichit and Laotian Prime Minister Prince Souvanna Phouma. It was believed that Mr. Phoumi delivered a message to Prince Souvanna from his half-brother Prince Souphanouvong, nominal head of the Pathet Leo. The contents were not revealed.
Meanwhile, negotiations have been continuing at a lower level, too. These meetings began last October.
The Pathet Lao permanent representative to these meetings, Mr. Soth Phetrasy, said recently that a peace agreement must come in Laos within 15 days of the Vietnam ceasefire, which started on January 28. Prince Souvanna Phouma has said he expected there could be a settlement in that time. His secret meetings with Mr. Phoumi are thought to be aimed at such a settlement.
The basic difference between the two sides is over whether the political settlement and distribution of power in the divided country should come after a ceasefire or at the same time. The Pathet Lao want the two settled at the same time.
SYNOPSIS: In Vientiane on Tuesday representatives of the Laotian Government and the Pathet Leo held another meeting amid optimism that a Laos ceasefire is near.
It was the seventeenth such meeting since October and the International Control Commission sent observers.
Delegates have reported no progress so far. But secret talks are also going on between Laotian Prime Minister Prince Souvanna Phouma and a top Pathet Lao leader. These are apparently aimed at obtaining agreement that the regular talks have not achieved.
The Pathet Lao say a Laos settlement must come within fifteen days of the Vietnam ceasefire on January the twenty-eighth. The basic disagreement is whether to settle the distribution of political power in the divided nation at the same time or after a ceasefire.