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Australia commits to beef up Cambodia’s cold chain capacity

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Prime Minister Hun Sen greets Australian ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang (left) at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Friday. SPM

Australia commits to beef up Cambodia’s cold chain capacity

Australia has committed to provide Cambodia with another 33 ultra-low temperature freezers to store Covid-19 vaccines, as well as cooperative support in the agricultural sector.

The commitment was revealed by Australian ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang, who presented a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen from his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison at an April 1 meeting marking the occasion of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, according to a statement posted on Hun Sen’s official Facebook page.

“Australia will provide cooperative assistance as a partner in the agricultural and agro-industrial sectors to produce agricultural products and export them through free trade agreements,” said the statement.

Kang also told Hun Sen that Australia plans to reopen in two weeks, permitting entry into the country without Covid-19 testing requirements, it added.

Hun Sen thanked Kang for delivering the letter and Australia for its support, praising Canberra for its success in managing Covid-19 and decision to reopen the country.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen also requested that Kang look into the possibility of expanding and strengthening cooperation in other sectors,” said the statement.

The delivery comes just over a month after the Ministry of Health received an Australian donation of 33 freezers to assist with keeping certain Covid-19 vaccines at temperatures of -80C as well as 100 freezers that can chill their contents to -20C.

The Australian embassy announced back on February 28 that Australia provided the freezers to support Cambodia’s efforts to provide Covid-19 vaccines to its people, and that the 133 freezers were part of a larger $26.7 million package of Australian support – to be delivered in partnership with UNICEF.

In a tweet after the April 1 meeting, Kang said: “I met Prime Minister Hun Sen … for a lengthy and productive discussion about our bilateral and ASEAN relationship, plus a range of international and regional issues of paramount concern, including the conflicts in Ukraine and Myanmar.”

Kang also said that he had caught up with Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth on March 31 to exchange views on bilateral cooperation, public financial management reform, Covid-19 vaccine delivery support, agriculture and water.

With regard to the lifting restriction for travellers to Australia, Kang said on March 25 that from April 18, no pre-arrival Covid-19 test would be needed to enter Australia. Proof of double vaccination and mask wearing on flights were still requirements, but this would make travel down under easier for visitors from Cambodia and other countries.

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