Russia to provide aid for polls

Ros Chanveasna / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev. Reuters

Russia has pledged to aid Cambodia with next year’s national election, including financial aid and sending observers.

The announcement was made after Prime Minister Hun Sen met his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday at the Asean summit in Manila, where they discussed the expansion of economic and aid assistance for Cambodia.

“Mr Medvedev said Russia would provide Cambodia with aid for the national election in 2018 and send observers to monitor the election as well,” a post to Mr Hun Sen’s Facebook page said.

National Election Committee spokesman Hang Puthea confirmed the development yesterday, welcoming the assistance from Russia.

“The NEC welcomes Russian observers to monitor the election to ensure that it is free and fair,” he said.

Mr Puthea noted that the NEC had already received $7.8 million from the EU, $1.2 million from Japan and $12 million from China to support the election on July 29.

Mr Hun Sen and Mr Medvedev also discussed ways to handle debt owed by Cambodia to Russia.

Cambodian officials have in the past said they expect Russia to make changes to the debt of about $1.5 billion over the last three decades into investment and development aid.

“Regarding the debt, Mr Medvedev said Russia would create a working group to settle this issue for Cambodia,” Mr Hun Sen said on his Facebook page. The pair also used the meeting to discuss renovations to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, for which Cambodia asked for aid and technical advisers in March.

In 1956, Cambodia and Russia first established diplomatic relations, which were then suspended during the Khmer Rouge regime. They resumed until the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, when Russian aid to Cambodia all but dropped off.

In a separate meeting, Mr Hun Sen also met with his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith to discuss finishing border demarcation.

The two agreed to ask the French government for maps of the area and hand duties to each country’s foreign ministry to work with the French officials.

At present, 121 of 145 border posts have been installed along the 533 kilometre border, meaning that 83 percent of the demarcation has been completed.

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