Laotian Prime Minister Prince Souvanna Fhouma left Vientiane on Sunday (25 August) for France on board a special jet to convalesce from a heart attack.
GV ??? I???V Pathet La??? and government soldiers standing at airport (2 shots)
GV Caravelle aircraft
GV motorcade arrives
MV Pathet Lao soldiers
GV Souvanne Phouma reviewing soldiers in car
GV Souvanna Phouma's car
MV Soavanne Phouma bides farewell to officials (2 shots)
GV Souvanna Phouma helped into aircraft
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Background: Laotian Prime Minister Prince Souvanna Fhouma left Vientiane on Sunday (25 August) for France on board a special jet to convalesce from a heart attack.
The 73-year-old Prince suffered from a heart attack on July 12, only three months after he formed a coalition government in Laos.
The Caravelle aircraft, provided by the French government, took off after the Prince baden farewell to ranking government officials and diplomats. Among them was him half-brother and the titular head of the Communist Pathet Lao, Prince Souphanouvong.
During his absence, the neutralist Prime Minister will be replaced at the head of the coalition government by Mr. Phoumi Vongvichit, Deputy Premier and member of the pro-Communist Pathet Lao.
But all official documents signed by the new acting Prime Minister will have to be initialled by Mr. Leuam Insisiengmay, also a Deputy Premier and a member of the right-wing faction led by Prince Boun Cum.
Before leaving Vientiane, Prince Souvanna Phouma counselled the government and officials against any action which could upset national reconciliation in the country, which is now ruled by a coalition of the former Vientiane administration and the Pathet Lao.
Prince Souvanna is expected to spend two months convalescing at Grasse, in southorn Prance.