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Defense Minister Tea Banh reads onboard a flight to Russia on Saturday. Facebook
Defense Minister Tea Banh reads onboard a flight to Russia on Saturday. Facebook

Banh, RCAF contingent to bolster Russia ties

Defense Minister Tea Banh and senior members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces left for Russia on Saturday for a nine-day visit to attend the 5th Moscow Conference on International Security.

The conference is expected to draw roughly 500 participants from at least 80 countries, and focus on global counter-terrorism efforts, according to RT.

“This is the first time for an official visit since Russia made reform” and transitioned to democracy after the breakup of the Soviet Union, said Defense Ministry spokesman Chum Socheat.

“Therefore, we have to re-strengthen our military ties.”

Socheat said Banh would have an unofficial meeting with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who requested Cambodia attend.

“Russia was friend of Cambodia in the 1980s … and Russia gave support for military skills, such as fielding tanks and anti-aircraft and launching heavy weapons,” he said.

Socheat said Banh would also meet 230 Cambodian military officers studying engineering in Russia. Russia’s defence ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Additional reporting by Igor Kossov

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