Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn and his delegation are scheduled to meet with European ministers to discuss common interests during the Asean-EU Ministerial Meeting in Belgium this week.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry on Facebook yesterday said Mr Sokhonn will meet with his EU counterpart, but did not provide further details. The ministry added that Mr Sokhonn will also meet with Spanish MP Antonio Lopez-Isturiz.
Ministry spokesman Ket Sophann has said that Mr Sokhonn will meet with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to discuss the status of democracy in Cambodia, including the steps the government has taken to ensure political space and labour rights.
The EU first became Asean’s dialogue partner in 1977 and engagement of both regions have since reached significant heights, the ministry said.
“Decades of partnership have seen a number of agreements signed that form a strong and solid basis for the future direction of the two regions,” the ministry said.
Mr Sokhonn’s trip to Belgium was made just a few days after he attended the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Retreat on Thursday and Friday last week in Thailand.
The retreat was held to follow-up on the 33rd Asean Summit and other regional meetings.
On Sunday, the ministry issued a statement on the retreat, saying that Asean ministers had a “fruitful discussion”.
“His Excellency Prak Sokhonn expressed his welcome for initiatives that contribute to strengthening Asean centrality and unity,” it said. “He pointed out that Asean should find a way to generate more community building efforts […] in the interest of peace and shared prosperity.”
Regarding Asean Community Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the ministry said Mr Sokhonn saw “resilience” relying on a collective effort to be made by Asean Member States.
During the retreat, Mr Sokhonn reiterated Cambodia’s support for Thailand’s initiative in the establishment of the Asean Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue this year.
“He expressed hope that the centre would be able to reach out to other national and regional think tanks in order to explore new and bolder ideas,” the ministry statement said.