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Govt sends condolences to Laos

Laotian authorities will today hold state funerals in the capital Vientiane for the four senior officials of the government and the ruling Communist Party who perished in the Air Force plane crash on Saturday morning.

Acting caretaker prime minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan and Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana, who oversees the Foreign Ministry, sent messages to their counterparts in Vientiane expressing deep regret for the great loss to the neighbouring country.

The funerals will be held at various places - That Luang grounds for Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Lt-General Douangchay Phichit and Public Security Minister Thongbanh Seng-aphone, That Phou temple for Vientiane mayor Soukhanh Mahalath and Tanmixay Temple in Saythany district for party propaganda chief Cheuang Sombounkhanh.

The funerals will start at 1pm, reported the state-run Lao News Agency.

To show gratitude and to mourn their passing, the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, National Assembly, Laotian government and other agencies organised a wake and three days of mourning from Saturday to today, it said yesterday.

The Russian-made AN74TK300 of the Lao Air Force, carrying 17 passengers, mostly military and government officials, to a military ceremony in a northern province, crashed in Nadee village of Xiengkouang's Paek district.

Officials were yesterday still conducting an investigation into the cause of the accident and rescue works were on the ground.

Niwattumrong said in his letter to Vientiane that the senior officials who died in the plane crash had contributed to good relations between Thailand and Laos while they were in service.

"Thailand is familiar with all of them and feels deep sorrow for the loss to Laos and their families."


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