The Czech Republic has forgiven debts totaling more than $3 million owed by Cambodia since the 1980s, its deputy minister of finance revealed on May 13 at the end of a five-day visit.
“We told the Cambodian government that they don’t need to pay this money back to our government,” Tomas Zidek told reporters in Phnom Penh.
He said the debts were incurred in 1983, 1984 and 1986 to build textile and wood processing factories.
Zidek said he had announced the decision to forgive the debt at a meeting with Finance Minister Keat Chhon on May 12.
Zidek visited as the head of the five-member government delegation that included deputy foreign minister Jan Kohout.
During their meeting, Chhon and Zidek signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at promoting and protecting investment by either country in the other.
Zidek also said the Czech Republic was hoping to eventually open an embassy in Phnom Penh to strengthen its relationship with Cambodia, support the activities of its businesspeople in the country and provide assistance to Czech tourists.
He said figures for 2007 showed that trade between the Czech Republic and Cambodia was valued at about $5 million.
“We will be ready to discuss opening an embassy within three years, if investment and tourism continue to grow,” Zidek said.