Cambodia thanks British govt for demining aid at Queen’s jubilee

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), described efforts to further boost close partnership dynamism as being in the best interests of Cambodia and the UK, while lauding it for allocating almost US$10 million to remove landmines.

Speaking at the June 2 celebration of the birthday of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II in Phnom Penh, Thuch said that with regard to development cooperation, the British government has lent substantial bilateral assistance to Cambodia.

Thuch said the UK has also provided other financial assistance in support of health, poverty reduction, democracy and good governance, among other programmes.

“The renewal of support for demining under the UK’s Global Mine Action Programme has benefited millions of Cambodians by allocating almost $10 million to release more land for safe agriculture, housing and rural development.

“Based on our decades of enduring goodwill and cordial relations, I have no doubt that we will continue our joint endeavours to further consolidate and explore the future dynamism of our close partnership for the best interests of the two nations and peoples,” he said.

From 1993 to 2020, the British government – through the Chevening programme – awarded scholarships to 184 Cambodian students to pursue higher education in the UK.

Thuch praised the British embassy in Phnom Penh for“actively” advancing and promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, technical and vocational education and training (TVET), and women’s empowerment in Cambodia.

Cambodia attaches great importance to its long-standing excellent and cordial relations with the UK, he added.

The diplomatic ties between the two countries were established in 1953, while the British embassy in Phnom Penh was re-opened in 1991.

“I note with deep satisfaction that our two Kingdoms, which are among the oldest remaining royalist institutions in the world, have been able to maintain an excellent state of friendship and cooperative close relations in various fields of common interest since the establishment of our diplomatic ties.

“In recent years, our bilateral relations have been further deepened and developed through the active presence of the British embassy in Phnom Penh,” Thuch said.

Regarding the UK’s Trade and Investment Office in Phnom Penh, which was established in 2013, he said: “It is my earnest hope that this office will continue working closely with the Cambodian authorities to boost our bilateral trade and investment to new heights.”

In April, UK ambassador to Asean Jon Lambe and Joelle Jenny – director for South-East Asia and the Pacific at Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – paid a two-day official visit aiming to build stronger ties with Cambodia, which holds the chairmanship of Asean for 2022.

In January, Amanda Milling, British minister of state for Asia, arrived in Cambodia for her first visit since the UK became an official dialogue partner of Asean.

In June 2021, British foreign minister Dominic Raab met his Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhonn to forge deeper bilateral ties and discuss the UK’s bid for Asean Dialogue Partnership status.

Queen Elizabeth II has ruled for longer than any other monarch in British history and has undertaken many historic overseas visits. The Queen has been an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous social change, according to the embassy. THE STAR

CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch (left) and UK ambassador to Cambodia Tina Redshaw on June 2. – CMAA

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