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Banh: ‘Talks ongoing over US cooperation’

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General Tea Banh meet with US Ambassador to Cambodia W.Patrick Murphy at Council of Ministers on Nov 13, 2019. Tea Banh Page

Banh: ‘Talks ongoing over US cooperation’

Minister of National Defence Tea Banh and new US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy have agreed to strengthen cooperation between the two countries, particularly militarily.

Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, told The Post that during a meeting with Murphy on Wednesday at the Council of Ministers, Cambodia and the US agreed to increased military collaboration, especially regarding joint military exercises and training, and allowing US naval ships to resume docking in the Kingdom.

“Talks are ongoing on working together in a number of fields, and in particular we are discussing the issue of US military vessels docking here.

“Because of certain issues, certain circumstances, we are sometimes not able to immediately agree on certain things so we have met to clarify each other’s positions.

“The important thing is that we are talking. We have much mutual understanding and we have already made good progress,” Banh said.

Embassy’s post

A post on the US embassy’s Facebook page on Wednesday said Ambassador Murphy had met with Banh to discuss US-Cambodia cooperation “in the important areas of peacekeeping, humanitarian demining, and POW/MIA accounting”.

“Ambassador Murphy noted that further steps to restore full multi-party democracy and rights for political figures will contribute to Cambodia’s stability and prosperity, strengthen overall US-Cambodia relations and help preserve Cambodia’s sovereignty and independence,” the post said.

‘Back into balanced position’

Political analyst Em Sovannara said agreements to strengthen ties and cooperation between the two countries on matters of defence would help Cambodia maintain neutrality and benefit the Kingdom.

“If Cambodia develops good relations with the US, it will bring Cambodia back into a balanced position again.

“It puts Cambodia back in the middle, and we will gain credibility from the international community. There will be many benefits to Cambodia through this collaboration.

“By strengthening diplomatic ties, it will bring Cambodia closer not just to the US but the rest of the world. We should have done this a long time ago,” Sovannara said.

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