Nepali PM arrives for first-ever visit to Kingdom

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Prime Ministers Hun Sen and Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli. KT/Khem Sovannara

Nepali Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli arrived in Phnom Penh yesterday afternoon for a three-day official visit to boost ties between both nations.

Mr Sharma Oli is in the Kingdom until Wednesday following a five-day visit to Vietnam.

According to Cambodia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mr Sharma Oli is expected to strengthen the bonds of friendship with the Kingdom and promote economic, trade, tourism and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

The Nepali Prime Minister yesterday laid wreaths at Independence Monument and at the monument of the late King Father before holding bilateral talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen.

After a welcoming ceremony at Peace Palace yesterday, Mr Hun Sen posted on his official Facebook page that Mr Sharma Oli’s visit would strengthen cooperation between Cambodia and Nepal.

“The visit of His Excellency Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to Cambodia will strengthen the relations between both countries, including in economic, trade, tourism and cultural cooperation,” he said.

Cambodia and Nepal began diplomatic relations in the 1960s. Relations were in limbo during the civil war and were re-established in 1999.

Bilateral trade between the two nations reached $170,000 last year with Cambodia exporting textile products worth $120,000 to Nepal.

The two countries yesterday signed two agreements, including the Framework Agreement on Trade and Investment, and a Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce of Nepal and the Chamber of Commerce of Cambodia.

According to his schedule, Mr Sharma Oli is expected to meet Senate President Say Chhum and National Assembly President Heng Samrin today before visiting the National Museum and giving a keynote speech at the Cambodia-Nepal Business Forum.

During Mr Hun Sen’s trip to Nepal for the Asia-Pacific Summit in December, he held bilateral talks with Nepalese leaders, including President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Mr Sharma Oli.

Both prime ministers signed of four agreements on bilateral cooperation involving air transport, visa exemptions for diplomats and government passport holders, and an MoU to open an embassy in Nepal.

Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute, yesterday noted that the relationship between both countries is just a “normal” one.

“I think his official visit to Cambodia is just one of his trips to strengthen relations with countries in Asean,” he said.

Mr Phea said trade between Nepal and Cambodia was less than $200,000 last year and he hopes for enhanced cooperation between the two countries after Mr Sharma Oli’s trip.

“I see that both countries do not enjoy any special relations in trade, politics, tourism or culture,” he noted. “I think that after this trip both sides will forge closer ties and provide significant support for each other on the international stage.”

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