Prime Minister Hun Sen and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš yesterday in Prague witnessed the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding to boost cooperation in the healthcare and trade sectors.
Mr Hun Sen is currently in Prague as part of his five-day official visit to Europe, where he will also visit Hungary and Bulgaria. He is expected to return to the Kingdom on Thursday.
The first MoU signed was between the Health Ministry and the Czech Republic’s VAMED Mediterra Group, a private company that provides medical services. The second MoU was signed with Cambodia’s Chamber of Commerce and the Czech Chamber of Commerce.
“The signing of the two MoUs is an indication of the aspirations of the two leaders to further expand friendship and development cooperation for the benefit of the peoples of both nations,” a Cambodian government statement said yesterday.
It noted that before the MoUs were signed, Mr Hun Sen was welcomed by Mr Babiš and the two held a closed-door meeting.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his gratitude to the Czech government for cancelling the debt Cambodia previously owed to the Czech Republic and also for turning the debt into development aid,” it said. “He also thanked the Czech government and its people for continuing to provide assistance to the Kingdom…in the fields of education, healthcare and rural development.”
The statement added that Mr Babiš responded positively to Mr Hun Sen.
“Prime Minister Andrej Babiš expressed his appreciation of Cambodia for its commitment in upholding peace and stability under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has led the country toward economic and social development and prosperity,” it said, noting that Mr Babiš believes the Kingdom will become an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050.
Before leaving for Hungary, Mr Hun Sen paid a courtesy call on Jaroslav Kubera, president of the Senate of the Czech Republic.
Mr Hun Sen’s trip to Europe comes amidst the European Commission’s review of the Kingdom’s Everything-but-arms trade status, which was initiated after the dissolution of the former opposition party.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in June pledged to support the Kingdom in the ongoing battle to preserve the EBA scheme by advocating the Cambodian position to the European Union.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday praised Cambodia-Czech Republic relations by saying that the Czech Republic does not interfere in Cambodia’s internal affairs.
“The signing of the agreements today reflects the good relationship and cooperation of both countries,” Mr Siphan said. “They do not interfere in our internal affairs, which is different from the stance of some western European countries that want Cambodia to follow them like their puppet.”
“The Czech Republic is still our good friend, whether or not we are going through hard times or have peace,” he added. “The good relations and cooperation are a reflection of a real friend. We consider this ‘Friendship as strong as steel’.”