Prince Panya Phouma, son of Laotian Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma. spoke to newsmen in Thabo,?
GV Prince Panya talking to news-men and showing them lifejacket (4 shots)
GV Prince leaving news conference
GV Ransacked interior of Vietnamese shop (2 shots)
GV Mekong River
GV Troop activity around Mekong
Initials BB/1600 TA/AH/BB/1645
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Background: Prince Panya Phouma, son of Laotian Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma. spoke to newsmen in Thabo, Thailand on Wednesday (26 November) after swimming across the Mekong river to Thailand.
The Prince, who made the swim wearing only his underpants and a lifebelt, said he had decided to flee Laos after being summoned to a Communist Pathet Lao "re-education seminar" in the north-east of the country.
On Saturday (29 November) the pathet Lao, already effective masters of Laos, called for a national conference to eliminate "the old corrupt regime". In the 1973 Laotian peace accords which ended mire than ten years of civil was Prince Souvanna Phouma of the right-wing Vientiane side and the Pathet Lao agree to form a coalition government with equal representation but last summer authority in Laos gradually passed to the Pathet Lao.
Prince Panya, who is reported to have had his father's permission to flee, later travelled to Bangkok where he requested permission for a temporary stay from the Thai Interior Ministry. He hopes to leave for France soon.
Relations between Thailand and Laos have been strained recently and in villages near Nongkhai last week hundreds of Thai youths threw stones at Vietnamese residents and wrecked about 100 shops owned by Vietnamese support for Laos on the Mekong River.
Thailand had sent troops and armour reinforcements to the Nongkhai border area. Sporadic shooting incidents across the river have occurred at different points during the last two weeks.
SYNOPSIS: In the nineteen-seventy-three Laotian peace accords which ended more than ten years of civil war Prince Souvanna Phouma's right-wing Vientiane side and the Pathet Lao agreed to form a coalition government but authority in Laos has gradually passed to the Pathet Lao. On Saturday the Pathet Lao--already affective masters of Laos-- called for a national conference to eliminate the old corrupt regime. Thailand has sent troop and armour reinforcements to the Nongkhai border area.