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Cambodia asked to host annual Francophonie meetings in future

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Christophe-Andre Frassa, chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF) meeting with foreign minister Prak Sokhonn on December 2. FOREIGN MINISTRY

Cambodia asked to host annual Francophonie meetings in future

Christophe-Andre Frassa, chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF), proposed that Cambodia host APF annual meetings in the future, as relations between Cambodia and French-speaking countries have “deepened”.

This would be the first such meeting since the establishment of the organisation in 1967, according to a December 5 press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The request came at a December 2 meeting between foreign minister Prak Sokhonn and Frassa, who was on a goodwill tour to Cambodia.

Aside from Cambodia’s hosting of the APF annual meetings, Frassa also proposed formal cooperation between APF and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), according to the ministry.

“We will study the two proposals seriously. If formal confirmation between AIPA and Cambodian authorities is requested, APF will agree to the proposals,” it said.

Sokhonn said many Cambodian government officials speak French, noting that the bonds of friendship between Cambodia and APF have deepened over the years.

Frassa hailed the bonds, saying that Cambodia has taken an active and sincere role in the APF family, especially in key meetings.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Foreign minister Prak Sokhonn meeting with Christophe-Andre Frassa, chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF) on December 2. FOREIGN MINISTRY

Sokhonn was quoted as telling Frassa that over 80 per cent of the Cambodian population had turned out for the recent June 5 commune council elections, with political parties outside the government winning roughly 20 per cent of the seats in the commune councils. Given the global context and instability in the world, the turnout was a positive indicator ahead of the 2023 general election, Sokhonn said.

He added that the government had introduced policies to maintain security, stability and development in Cambodia, in particular through its nationwide Covid-19 vaccination campaign. As a result, over 95 per cent of the population have been vaccinated.

Frassa expressed his intention to discuss the forthcoming general election in Cambodia next year with a new vision. He also emphasised the importance of providing information so that international observers can learn about the activities the Cambodian government has conducted within the framework of the 2023 election.

Sokhonn thanked Frassa, saying: “As proof of my willingness to discuss the realities of the election, I will provide all of the information I can to the APF.”

In a December 2 tweet following the meeting, Frassa said that as rotating chair of ASEAN, Cambodia has played a leading role in the South East Asia region. Cambodia is one of the most active regional members of the APF, he added.

In March, Louise Mushikiwabo, secretary-general of the Francophone International Organisation (OIF), visited Phnom Penh for three days and led the first Francophone Economic and Trade Mission in Southeast Asia (MECA).

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