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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Middle East tour this month for Hun Sen

Middle East tour this month for Hun Sen

PRIME Minister Hun Sen will visit Kuwait and Qatar later this month, a spokesman said Sunday, as the Kingdom expands business and trade ties with the Middle East.

Kuwaiti Premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmed al-Sabah visited Cambodia and inked trade deals last August, while Cambodia is also looking into lucrative land-lease agreements with Kuwait and Qatar.

"Our prime minister will start his visit to the Middle East region after the 10th of January ... in order to strengthen our ties," said government spokesman and Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith, adding that so far, visits to Qatar and Kuwait were confirmed.

High food prices were a key contributor to the Middle East's high inflation this year, as a lack of fertile land and water forces the region to import more than two-thirds of its food.

Kuwait granted Cambodia a US$546 million agricultural loan in August in return for crop production.

Hun Sen's Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani, visited Cambodia in April 2008 to offer technology in exchange for arable land.

Cambodia has climbed back from decades of civil unrest to emerge as one of the region's most vibrant economies, attracting increasing foreign investment.

Officials from the Kingdom have also said they hope Middle East governments will help train local experts on the petroleum industry, which is starting to take root here after the discovery of offshore deposits.

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