Prime Minister Hun Sen returned to Cambodia yesterday following his trip to the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels and stops in Turkey and Switzerland, where he held meetings with other world leaders and boosted bilateral ties.
Mr Hun Sen yesterday wrote on his Facebook that his trip bore fruitful results, especially on cooperation.
“With me attending key summits in the European Union for a couple of days, it has really been rewarding for both the country and the people,” he said. “It’s a great benefit to strengthen cooperation with European countries, as well as regional and international countries.”
Mr Hun Sen said he had opportunities to meet with leaders and introduce them to Cambodia as a potential country for investment.
Kao Kim Hourn, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister, told reporters during a press conference at Phnom Penh International Airport that Mr Hun Sen’s trip to Belgium, Turkey and Switzerland played a crucial role in legitimising the new government.
Mr Kim Hourn said that Cambodia has strong ties with the international community thanks to the trip.
“In short, this trip has clearly proved that the new government formed after July’s National Election is legitimate and the international community recognises it,” Mr Kim Hourn said.
“Cambodia will continue to work with other countries to build up good relationships and diplomatic ties in a bid to bring about more investment in the country and also to attract more tourists,” he added.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said yesterday that the public would judge the trip differently.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom informed Cambodia in an October 5 statement that the EU has begun the process of withdrawing its Everything-but-arms status, which could take up to six months and is being done due to perceived democratic and human rights setbacks in the Kingdom.
Mr Hun Sen said last week that the withdrawal of the EBA treaty will not affect Cambodia as it would have eventually disappeared regardless of the EU’s current review.
But, during a meeting with his supporters in Switzerland on Tuesday, Mr Hun Sen urged the EU not to commit a mistake against Cambodia, referring to the EU’s decision to begin withdrawal procedures.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said in a statement yesterday that the EU should reconsider the path it is taking.
“European countries are now defined by their democracy, especially after the World War II, and with the Paris Peace Accords, most of the signatory countries pledged to help restore and rebuild Cambodia,” Mr Eysan said.
“Cambodian people are optimistic that democratic European countries will reconsider it before making a decision to withdraw the EBA to avoid affecting Cambodia’s democracy,” he said.