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Assistance deal inked

Assistance deal inked

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Jeff Daigle, Chargé d’Affaires from the US Embassy, shakes hands with Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong yesterday during a signing ceremony at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The United States and Cambodian officials signed amendments to two bilateral agreements yesterday in order to provide about US$32.5 million in funding from the US Agency for International Development to support health and education initiatives.

US chargé d’affaires Jeff Daigle said at a signing ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that, historically, health and education programs have accounted for more than half of US government assistance to Cambodia.

He said that child and infant mortality had declined by 65 percent over the past five years, with more women having their babies in hospitals and more children continuing their studies through high school.

“We look forward to consolidating the successes achieved through our joint efforts and partnership and tackling new challenges in health and education – areas so vital to ensuring the future development and prosperity of Cambodia,” Jeff Daigle said.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said that the US has contributed $330 million for health and education projects in the Kingdom since 2003.

“The US’s assistance is very important to focus on education and health, especially in the rural areas, which has contributed to the reduction of poverty,” Hor Namhong said.

According to a press release issued by the US Embassy, the amendment to the health agreement provides $30.93 million in grant funds to contribute to the achievement of Cambodia’s national health objectives and $1.55 million in grant funds to support education objectives.

“USAID expects to provide a total of $64.87 million in assistance to Cambodia in 2011,” the  press release stated.

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