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UK foreign minister set to visit Cambodia on June 23

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(From left) Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn, his UK counterpart Dominic Raab and Minister of Environment Say Samal. HONG MENEA, UK Foreign Ministry

UK foreign minister set to visit Cambodia on June 23

British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Raab will pay a visit to Cambodia on June 23 as scheduled to boost ties between the two countries.

Raab and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn will hold a bilateral meeting during which various aspects of bilateral cooperation, regional and international issues of common interest and concern will be discussed.

“The official visit of The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP to Cambodia will contribute to further promoting and strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries and be another step forward in multilateral cooperation within the ASEAN framework,” the Cambodian foreign ministry said in a press release on June 21.

Raab will also have a meeting with Minister of Environment Say Samal and will visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Documentation Centre of Cambodia.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, told The Post on June 21 that relations between the two countries have improved due to multilateral and bilateral mechanisms.

He said the bilateral relations have been remarkably positive due to the fact that the UK included Cambodia as a beneficiary in its Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) after leaving the EU.

Phea said that in multilateralism, the UK needs to seek a dialogue partnership with ASEAN, and this would be an additional multilateral mechanism to enhance relations between Cambodia and the UK, especially given that Cambodia will chair ASEAN next year.

“Preliminary discussions between the UK and Cambodia on the Anglo-ASEAN partnership are a must. And Raab coming to Cambodia may be an opportunity to discuss these matters,” he said.

Phea added that the UK is Europe’s biggest buyer of Cambodian merchandise.

“We hope that this visit will push for greater trade exchanges, especially if Raab reaffirms his commitment to maintaining trade preferences for Cambodia.

“It’s another factor that makes us supreme for exporting to the European market, especially the UK itself,” he said.

Separately, Sokhonn will attend the Asia-Pacific High-Level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation, held virtually this year in Beijing under the theme “Promoting Cooperation on Combating the Pandemic for Sustainable Recovery”.

The conference will be chaired by Wang Yi, China’s State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, with the participation of the foreign ministers of Belt and Road Cooperation partner countries as well as high-level representatives from the UN.

“Minister Prak Sokhonn will be focusing on many important topics including the enhancement of an open and inclusive multilateralism, promotion of international partnerships and cooperation in ensuring equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines and sustainable socio-economic recovery,” the ministry said in a press release.

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