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Kay and Kerry Danes: meeting with Lao Deputy Prime Minister.



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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Media Release Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer

30 March 2001

Kay and Kerry Danes: Meeting with LAO Deputy Prime Minister

I have used the opportunity of a bilateral meeting with the Lao Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Somsavat, at the inaugural meeting of the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation in Chile to raise the case of Kay and Kerry Danes.

The Danes have been detained by Lao authorities since December 23 last year.

I told Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat that the Australian Government was very concerned that two Australian citizens had been held for three months without a clear case being made against them.  I reiterated my strong personal unhappiness about their situation and the Australian Government’s wish to see their case resolved quickly.

I thanked the Deputy Prime Minister for the ongoing consular access granted by Lao authorities which enables Australian Embassy officials to meet with the Danes on a weekly basis.

However, I emphasised to Mr Somsavat the importance for relations between Australia and Laos that the Danes case be satisfactorily resolved.  From Australia’s perspective, the early release of the Danes would be a positive development.

Media inquiries:  Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 62777 500/0419 206 890  Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555/0417 219 785

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