Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has asked France to help build wastewater facilities in northwestern Phnom Penh to ensure that waters that flow into the Tonle Sap River are clean.
The request was made during a meeting between Sreng and French ambassador to Cambodia Jacques Pellet on May 18, in a bid to improve diplomatic ties and cooperation between Phnom Penh and Paris.
“Japan’s JICA has helped Cambodia a lot, especially in Phnom Penh, by building several wastewater plants,” Sreng said, referring to the Japanese government’s international development arm, the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
“But in the northwestern reaches of Phnom Penh, there aren’t any such wastewater treatment facilities. Thus, I’d like to ask France to help Phnom Penh install a wastewater station for the next generation to use, no matter if it’s in the form of a loan or a grant,” he added.
The governor also requested France’s help to overcome the traffic jam issue in the capital. He also briefed the French delegation on the development of Cambodia since the fall of the Khmer Rouge in early 1979.
Jacques Pellet did not directly respond to the request. However, he did appreciate the development of the capital, commenting on the scores of high-rises now dotting the cityscape, in stark contrast to the 1995 skyline.
He noted that both countries are currently busy with security in the run-up to their respective elections next month, and requested Phnom Penh authorities to safeguard French nationals during the season.
The Cambodian commune council elections are scheduled for June 5, while the French legislative elections are set for June 12 and 19, on the heels of the presidential vote in April which saw Emmanuel Macron re-elected as the country's leader for the next five years.
Pellet also called on the Phnom Penh administration to preserve the remaining heritage sites in the interest of alluring local and international visitors to the capital. The ambassador also mentioned a planned high-speed rail project for the capital that has been under study for 10 years.
In response, Sreng assured Pellet that the embassy would remain secure, adding that the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration would be on standby 24/7 to provide assistance.