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Asean-EU meeting in Brussels highlights ties

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Attendees pose for a photo in Geneva. Swift News

The Foreign Ministry on Friday said the Asean-EU Ministerial Meeting in Belgium last week, which Minister Prak Sokhonn attended, highlighted mutually beneficial cooperation to further strengthen and deepen Asean-EU dialogue relations.

Mr Sokhonn last week led a Cambodian delegation to attend the 22nd Asean-EU Ministerial Meeting, where foreign ministers from all Asean member states and the EU deliberated on common issues for mutually beneficial cooperation to further strengthen and deepen Asean-EU relations.

“The ministers discussed future directions of Asean-EU cooperation and also exchanged views on pressing global issues, including climate change, connectivity, combatting terrorism, maritime security, migration and trade, which are of common concerns for both regions and the world at large,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

“Mr Sokhonn expressed his appreciation for the EU’s contribution and support for Asean connectivity, in particular the EU’s commitment to enhance cooperation on the Asean connectivity agenda, both in hard and soft infrastructure, its support in the implementation of the Master Plan on Asean Connectivity 2025, through various thematic dialogue and the EU-Asean cooperation that aims to increase infrastructure development in Asean.” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

A joint statement of the EU-Asean ministerial meeting released last week, highlighted long standing relations between both regions and reaffirmed the role played by Asean and the EU in shaping political, socio-economic, and security agendas.

“We call for strengthened cooperation on regional and global environmental challenges, including wildlife trafficking, deforestation, clean air, ocean pollution and marine litter, as well as promoting the circular economy.” it said. “We also stress the importance of strengthening efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.”

“We reaffirm our commitment to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, including gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment, as well as ending all forms of poverty. We stress our commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms with reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights instruments to which we are parties.” the statement also said.

It said the EU and Asean would work more closely together, including in the fight against human trafficking, business and human rights, women’s and children’s rights, the rights of migrant workers and the right to development.

On the sidelines of the meeting Mr Sokhonn also separately met with Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders, who also Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, EU Trade Commissioner, and Antonio Lopez-Isturiz, European Parliament member from Spain and Secretary-General of the European People’s Party, it said.

Kin Phea, director-general of the Institute of International Relations at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday said he hopes that there will be solution between the Cambodian government and European Union on the future of the EBA agreement.

“When it comes to sovereignty, independence and economic benefits, the government has never compromised,” Mr Phea said. “I think there will be a proper resolution because this thing has occurred because of misunderstanding between the EU and Cambodia,”

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