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Donation of AZ jabs a shot in the arm for Poland ties

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Prime Minister Hun Sen receives Poland-donated AstraZeneca vaccines from EU ambassador to Cambodia Carmen Moreno on January 30. SPM

Donation of AZ jabs a shot in the arm for Poland ties

Prime Minister Hun Sen on January 30 received 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines donated by Poland, after repeated delays due to bad weather conditions.

Speaking during the ceremonial handover at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen thanked the government and people of Poland for the donation while also encouraging Polish and European companies to invest in Cambodia and ASEAN.

“On behalf of the people and the government, I offer my thanks for the vaccines, which reflect the care and commitment of the people and government of the Republic of Poland in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus in Cambodia, as well as across the whole world,” he said referring to Poland’s official name.

Cambodia regarded vaccination as a strategic priority and highly appreciated the sharing of vaccines from one country to another in an effort to accelerate global vaccination levels, he said. Vaccination is a key measure to ending the Covid-19 crisis and reopening socio-economic activities safely under the “new normal”. Cambodia has vaccinated approximately 90 per cent of its estimated population of 16 million, at least with the first dose.

“Cambodia’s economy is estimated to have grown by around three per cent in 2021 and is projected to grow by more than five per cent in 2022, thanks mainly to the full reopening of the country, and the return of socio-economic activities across all sectors,” he said.

According to Hun Sen, Cambodia and Poland have enjoyed diplomatic relations since 1967. Since then, the two countries have maintained good diplomatic, educational, socio-economic and trade relations.

“As the chair of ASEAN for 2022, Cambodia is ready to further strengthen Cambodia-Poland, ASEAN-Poland – as well as Cambodia-EU and ASEAN-EU – cooperation, friendship and solidarity in all fields.

“[We] encourage the Republic of Poland and the EU to continue to provide support to Cambodia and ASEAN, and encourage Polish and European investors to increase business, trade and investment – especially in the agro-industry, education and tourism sectors – in Cambodia as well as in ASEAN as a whole,” he added.

The Delegation of the EU to Cambodia said in a press statement that “Team Europe”, which is a collection of EU member states and financial institutions, had acted together to pool resources and expertise to jointly tackle the destructive impact of Covid-19 around the world.

“This donation of 300,000 Astra Zeneca doses, made possible thanks to the solidarity and generosity of the people of Poland, is an expression of the commitment of Team Europe to support Cambodia in the fight against Covid-19, and to ensure universal access to vaccines as part of a lasting solution to the pandemic.

“We will continue to work together with Cambodia towards a sustainable and strong economic recovery and to mitigate the impact of this pandemic on human lives, jobs and livelihoods,” said EU ambassador to Cambodia Carmen Moreno.

Moreno said the EU also supports health sector such as the expansion on research and testing capacities in Cambodia, the vaccination campaign and strengthening of the health system.

“We are reinforcing and reorienting programmes on nutrition as well as hygiene, access to clean water and sanitation, to be more responsive to the pandemic needs. Team Europe strongly supports the WHO and contributes to finance its programmes in Cambodia,” she added.

Waldemar Dubaniowski, the Polish ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, said Covid-19 knows no boundaries. Containing the pandemic requires global efforts and acts of solidarity with countries in need.

“This donation represents EU solidarity in action and I am happy that Poland can contribute to Team Europe activities in Cambodia that will help to accelerate its post-pandemic recovery,” he said.

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