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Cambodia, Sri Lanka expand ties

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena oversee a signing ceremony yesterday. KT/Khem Sovannara

Cambodia and Sri Lanka yesterday expanded cooperation in the sectors of education, culture, tourism, commerce and civil aviation.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and his delegation are in the Kingdom for an official state visit.

Mr Sirisena made a courtesy call to King Norodom Sihamoni in the morning before meeting Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in the afternoon where both leaders witnessed the signing of two agreements on political consultation and cooperation.

Eang Sophalleth, Mr Hun Sen’s assistant, told reporters after the meeting that two Memoranda of Understanding were signed by respective Foreign Affairs Ministries and Chambers of Commerce.

Mr Sophalleth said aside from witnessing the signing of the two MoUs, Mr Hun Sen and Mr Sirisena covered a wide range of issues, including the bomb attacks that occurred in Sri Lanka in April, in which Mr Hun Sen expressed his condolences for 300 lives lost.

“The president told Samdech Hun Sen that the purpose of his visit to the Kingdom is to strengthen relationship and expand cooperation between both countries in the sectors of education, culture, tourism, commerce and civil aviation,” he said. “He [Mr Sirisena] urged for a direct flight between Cambodia and Sri Lanka.”

Mr Sophalleth said Mr Hun Sen said both sides should first implement the MoU on Political Consultation as soon as possible.

“Samdech Hun Sen said the trade volume between both countries is too small, so both countries must consider pushing for a higher trade volume,” he said. “This also applies to cooperation in tourism, religion and education.”

Mr Sophalleth said Mr Hun Sen expressed gratitude to the Sri Lankan government for training Cambodian officials and Buddhist monks. He noted that Mr Hun Sen said Sri Lanka is also participating in the maintenance of regional peace.

According to a press release issued by the Sri Lankan government, King Sihamoni thanked Mr Sirisena for coming to the Kingdom.

“Cambodia stands firmly together with Sri Lanka in further cementing bilateral relations in trade, social issues, as well as Buddhism,” it said.

“His Majesty commended the progress achieved by Sri Lanka under the leadership of President Sirisena in the economic, trade, social and religious fields,” it said. “The King also extended his gratitude for the assistance given by Sri Lanka to Cambodia in the education sector, including [for] scholarships to Cambodian monks.”

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