National Assembly president Heng Samrin yesterday told outgoing Swedish Ambassador Maria Sargren that human rights and democracy are improving in the Kingdom.
In February, the European Union launched a six month-long period of intensive monitoring and engagement that could lead to the suspension of Cambodia’s access to the Everything-but-arms trade scheme over perceived human rights and democratic setbacks.
Mr Samrin met with Ms Sargen on Monday at the National Assembly as she ended her three-year mission.
Keo Piseth, Mr Samrin’s cabinet chief, told reporters after the meeting that Mr Samrin thanked Sweden for its assistance in developing priority sectors, such as strengthening capacity building among parliamentarians.
Mr Piseth said Mr Samrin also told Ms Sargen that criticism of the human rights and democracy situation in the country is unwarranted.
“Samdech Heng Samrin believes Ms Mario Sargen has clearly seen Cambodia’s development progress, including the opposite of what external groups of inciters have been saying for their political gain,” he said.
Mr Piseth noted that Mr Samrin thanked the government of Sweden and its people for finding peace and providing development assistance to the Kingdom.
He said that in response, Ms Sargen said Cambodia has developed its economy, which helped promote livelihoods and curb poverty in the country.
“Sweden has taken part in developing many sectors in the country, such as the promotion of human rights, democracy, education, community development, climate change and gender equality,” Mr Piseth said, adding that Sweden was the first European country to provide aid to Cambodia following the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime.
“[Heng Samrin] hopes that Her Excellency will continue the good relationship and continue to push investors and tourists to visit the Kingdom,” he said.