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Heng Samrin voices concern over conflict in Iraq

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Mr Samrin in Canberra. National Assembly

National Assembly president Heng Samrin yesterday expressed concerns over tension between Iran and the United States spilling over to Iraq, noting that the conflict should be solved peacefully, according to an official.

According to media reports, tensions between the US and Iran have spilled into Iraq since late last year after pro-Iran protestors stormed the US embassy in Baghdad in response to US airsrikes on installations of pro-Iran militia in Iraq.

US President Donald Trump on January 2  then responded with an air strike killing top Iranian commander General Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad airport.

Iran in turn on January 8 responded by launching a barrage of missiles on two military bases in Iraq housing US and Iraqi troops.

Mr Samrin expressed the concern in Canberra yesterday as he attended the second day of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, where attendees have been discussing cooperation of parliamentary and counter-terrorist extremism in the region.

Chheang Vun, chairman of National Assembly’s commission on foreign affairs, international cooperation, information, and media, said in Canberra yesterday Mr Samrin feared tension between Iran and the US could be escalating.

“Our people are concerned about the conflict between Iran and the US. Cambodia’s stance is to uphold multilateralism and counter extremist violence that provokes insecurity in society,” Mr Vun said.

On the sideline of the APPF, Mr Samrin yesterday held bilateral talk with Tony Smith, president of the Australian Parliamentary House, to discuss boosting cooperation between two legislative bodies.

Mr Samrin reportedly said that the Australian parliament has played a significant role in promoting cooperation among APPF members.

Mr Samrin then urged the Australian parliament continue to support Cambodia, especially in encouraging investors and tourists to visit the Kingdom.

He also invited Mr Smith to visit the Kingdom and attend the 11th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting to be hosted by the Kingdom this year.

In response, Mr Smith agreed to pay a visit to the Kingdom.

Kin Phea, director general at the International Relations Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday said that efforts need to be made to seriously tackle terrorism and violence.

Mr Phea said that parliamentary cooperation between nations plays a crucial role in curbing terrorism and violence.

“The tension in the Middle-East between Iran and the US is not a single problem for the two countries but for all nations in the world. So every country has to help solve the issue,” Mr Phea said.

“I think that parliamentary cooperation between Cambodia and Australia is important for both countries to work together to counter terrorist extremism in the region,” he said.

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