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Cambodia, a model of success in COVID-19 control, says country’s top diplomat

DPM and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn addressing the policy dialogue. Khem Sovannara

Cambodia clearly offers a model of success in terms of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and the ability to prevent its spread, said Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn at the Policy Dialogue on « Cambodia’s Lessons Learnt and Shared Experiences in response to COVID-19 », held here at the National Institute of Diplomacy and International Relations, Wednesday.

Mr Sokhonn, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, attributed this success to the wise leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, the mobilisation of the country’s resources and assistance from friendly countries and international institutions, in particular guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“We have no COVID-19 related death, no imposed lockdown and just a ban of a limited number of activities,” he underlined.

“We have shown to the world that irrespective of the crisis, we never forget our faith in humanity and human rights. As ‘a small country with a big heart’, Cambodia has provided COVID-19 testing and treatment not only to our own citizens, but also to foreign nationals. We have rescued the Westerdam cruise ship, carrying 2,257 passengers and crews on board, after being turned away by several countries,” said the DPM, quoting the Prime Minister’s speech: “How could we talk about respecting human rights if the right to living is not even respected?”

He also spoke highly of the Policy Dialogue, stressing that it is about making Cambodia’s voice heard in the international arena. “No country has the monopoly of knowledge nor the truth. The health crisis and the climate crises are the two most striking illustrations of this. That is why, for this first Policy Dialogue, it seemed to us entirely appropriate to share our original experience in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“While we are adapting ourselves to the New Normal, I expect that today’s Policy Dialogue will help underline the importance of international solidarity, collective efforts and cohesive response to grapple with the crisis without compromising humanitarian needs,” he continued.

Cambodia’s top diplomat also took the opportunity to thank the actors in the fight against COVID-19, both Cambodian and international experts, including Dr. Li Ailan, WHO Representative in Cambodia and Dr. Laurence Baril, Director of Institut Pasteur in Cambodia for having been so active and helpful since the beginning of the crisis. C. Nika-AKP

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