Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Army Commander Lieutenant General Hun Manet is in Russia to discuss cooperation between the two nations’ armies.
On Monday, Lt Gen Manet and his delegation of senior military officials met with Russia’s Army General and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces General Oleg Salyukov.
Lt Gen Manet expressed his deepest gratitude to Gen Salyukov for a warm welcome and thanked the Russian government and people for their support in developing Cambodia.
According to an RCAF Facebook post on Monday, Lt Gen Manet is in Russia to “strengthen cooperation between the armies of Cambodia and Russia, which was established long ago”.
According to an article by Russia’s Defence Ministry, both sides discussed issues concerning bilateral military cooperation, training of Cambodian officers in Russian military schools and the participation of Cambodian soldiers in the International Army Games 2019.
In Moscow, Lt Gen Manet also laid flowers at the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers memorial complex near the Kremlin wall.
“During the visit, the Cambodian delegation will get acquainted with the training and material base and combat training system of the Western Military District’s Guards tank formation and will visit the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, as well as the Military University of the Defence Ministry,” the article said.
According to Russia’s Zvezda TV network, Gen Salyukov said close ties between both countries were first established during the Cambodian civil war.
“We highly appreciate the contribution that Cambodia makes to fight against the common evil: international terrorism,” he said. “You, being the head of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee and the Special Forces, are personally very involved in the fight against international terrorism.”
In October, Prime Minister Hun Sen met Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Brussels. There, Mr Hun Sen asked the Russian government to convert the Kingdom’s debt accumulated during the civil war in the 1980s to “investment”.
In response, the Russian government agreed to recategorise the debt of $1.5 billion as an investment. The Russian government also pledged to provide more aid to the Kingdom this year.
Cambodia currently owes about $500 million to the United States. The debt was originally a $274 million loan for food and supplies during the Lon Nol era in the 1970s, but has since grown.
Lt Gen Manet in the past criticised the US for lending money to Lon Nol to kill Cambodians.
Kin Phea, director-general of the Institute of International Relations at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday said the relationship between Cambodia and Russia is more stable when compared to that with the US.
“In the international stage, both countries have supported each other, especially through economic, defence, political and diplomatic cooperation,” Mr Phea said. “Russia is one of the greatest superpower countries that also wants to maintain good relations with countries in Asia, like Cambodia.”
Last year, Russian Ambassador to Cambodia Dmitry Tsvetkov hailed the relationship with Cambodia as “fruitful”.
“I am confident that Russian-Cambodian ties will continue to expand and grow more strong and mature,” Mr Tsvetkov said. “Undoubtedly, by supporting the high intensity of bilateral contacts and experiencing exchanges between our two countries, we can gain the unique opportunity to effectively address global and national challenges together.”