Ly Thuch, Senior Minister and first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), said Switzerland is an important and long-term partner in demining work.

On behalf of the Cambodian government, he requested that the Swiss government continue to support the completion of mine clearance by 2025 and address other risks posed by explosive remnants of war after 2025.

He made his remarks at a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Switzerland on February 3, in the presence of Heinrich Schellenberg, secretary of state and Head of the Asia Pacific Division at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Thuch said that over the past 60 years, Cambodia and Switzerland have had an excellent track record of close friendship and cooperation in many areas. The friendship and the cooperation have benefited each other on national and international levels.

He added that the two countries are both defenders of the spirit and principles of the UN Charter and international law in their multilateral commitment. More importantly, both nations maintain a neutral foreign policy to defend their independence as sovereign states. Cambodia adopted a neutral foreign policy in 1955 and it became a permanent clause in the 1993 Constitution.

He continued that in recent years, Cambodian-Swiss relations have grown significantly. This is reflected in growing trade volumes, high-level visits and regular political dialogue between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs, as well as other relevant ministerial meetings and multilateral framework cooperation.

“On behalf of the government, I believe this forum will contribute to the further advancement of friendly relations and close cooperation between the two countries,” he stated.

Switzerland has provided support for health, governance, agriculture, food security and mine clearance. It has made a significant contribution to the development of well-being and prosperity in Cambodia.

Thuch also extended his profound gratitude to the Swiss government for its financial assistance to Kantha Bopha Hospital since 1994.

“The Cambodian people will always remember the assistance and offer their profound gratitude and appreciation for the late Dr Beat Richner’s dedication to saving the lives of millions of Cambodian women and children through free medical care,” he added.

During the celebration, Thuch also thanked the 10-year presence of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Cambodia and the launch of the new Mekong Region Cooperation Programme 2022-25.

“This will become a driving force in Cambodia-Switzerland relations,” he said.