Cambodia and Cuba on October 4 signed two memoranda of understanding (MoU): one on a cultural exchange programme and the other on cooperation in physical education, culture and sports.

The documents, signed in a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Cuban counterpart Manuel Marrero Cruz following a bilateral meeting, aim to further expand bilateral ties and cooperation between the two countries. The Kingdom also requested that Cuba promote cooperation in health and other fields.

The agreements link the two countries’ culture ministries from 2022-2027 and Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport with Cuba’s National Institute for Sports, Physical Education and Recreation.

Hun Sen’s assistant Eang Sophalleth told reporters that during the bilateral meeting, Marrero expressed his willingness to expand the bilateral relations and promote the implementation of all MoUs that have been signed.

“He requested that Cuba consider promoting its cooperation with Cambodia, especially in the health sector and others including sports, investment and information,” said Sophalleth, noting that Hun Sen praised Cuba’s efforts and successes in health research, including its production of Covid-19 vaccines.

Hun Sen also thanked the Cuban government and people for helping Cambodia during its most difficult times. He recalled that when Cambodia was liberated from the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, the Caribbean nation provided much-needed health support, among other aid.

An October 4 social media post by Hun Sen said Marrero’s visit would boost cooperation in trade, investment, economy, society, education, health and culture between the two countries.

The Cuban premier tweeted on October 5 that during the official dialogue, he and Hun Sen “ratified” the interests of the two nations, strengthening their historical cooperation.

Heng Kimkong, a visiting senior research fellow at the Cambodia Development Centre, said it is a positive sign that both countries are trying to strengthen their bilateral relations.

“In a world full of uncertainties, it is important that a small state like Cambodia engage with all parties to maximise its national interests,” he told The Post on October 5.

In a separate October 4 meeting with Marrero, Senate President Say Chhum announced support for further implementation of the two countries’ existing mechanisms through consultation meetings. This would allow for more effective adherence to the MoUs and agreements between the two.

“Say Chhum believes that the two countries should maximise the potential of the above mechanisms and agreements in order to bring greater benefits to the people of each country,” said a Senate press release.

Chhum said that ties between the two nations’ legislatures have been strengthened through the exchange of visits and meetings between the leadership and members. Mutual support has been supported via inter-Senate frameworks, including the Asia-Pacific Conference and Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Marrero promised to devote his efforts to further strengthening the ties and cooperation between the two countries, while Chhum intended to increase cooperation between the Cambodian Senate and the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba, said the release.