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Oil deal with Iran expected

IRAN and Cambodia are set to sign a memorandum of understanding on “petroleum cooperation” next week, in a visit that will see the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Vice Chairman of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority Ho Vichit will form part of a delegation invited to the Islamic state, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday.

A statement said the visit, to take place next Tuesday and Wednesday, was aimed at expanding relations between the two countries.

It added that the two sides were expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on “petroleum cooperation” and Hor Namhong would extend a “courtesy call” to Iran’s president.

Bilateral talks between Cambodia’s foreign minister and Iran’s foreign, commerce and petroleum ministers would also be held.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the foreign minister, said yesterday that the visit would mark the first official delegation to the Islamic Republic since diplomatic relations were established in 1992.

“Iran is one of the biggest-producing petroleum countries of the world.

“An MoU would offer benefits to Cambodia. Our country has just started in the petroleum sector,” he said.

“We can learn skills, knowledge and experience of the petroleum sector from each other,” he said.

He said that Iran could provide technical assistance, training courses and other experience to the Kingdom.

Cambodia has attempted to build on its relationship with the Islamic state in recent months.

In May, two of Cambodia’s lawmakers – Try Chheang Huot and Chhith Kim Yath – attended an Asian Parliamentary Assembly in the Iranian capital of Tehran.

Afterwards, officials said, they tried to spread information about investment opportunities in Cambodia.

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