Prime Minister Hun Sen and United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday spoke by phone to discuss various issues, including the Kingdom’s sovereignty, security cooperation and COVID-19 pandemic response.
The conversation was made just a day after Mr Hun Sen on Tuesday said the Kingdom has welcomed resumed military drills with the US after its three-year suspension.
US Embassy spokeswoman Emily Zeeberg told Khmer Times yesterday that Mr Pompeo and Mr Hun Sen acknowledged the longstanding bilateral partnership between Cambodia and the US.
“Secretary Pompeo and Prime Minister Hun Sen also discussed the importance of Cambodia’s sovereignty, as well as ways to strengthen its democratic governance, including the importance of freedom of expression, especially during this time when all voices are needed to fight the pandemic,” she said.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between both nations.
“In recent decades, the US has provided Cambodia more than $2 billion in development aid in health, agriculture, education, trade and many other sectors,” Ms Zeeberg said, before noting Mr Pompeo stressed the US’ commitment in assisting Cambodia to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He expressed hope that the over $2 million in aid to address the pandemic in Cambodia, as well as enduring support from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and USAID, will help Cambodia’s efforts in confronting the epidemic,” she added.
A ministry-issued statement yesterday said Mr Hun Sen and Mr Pompeo have expressed plans for mutual assistance during the present health crisis.
“Mr Pompeo welcomed the Royal Government of Cambodia’s statement on sovereignty, supporting all forms of Asean security cooperation, and stated the importance of freedom of expression despite differing opinions,” the statement said.
It noted that Mr Pompeo expressed gratitude to Cambodia for saving the passengers on the MS Westerdam cruise ship while the premier thanked the US for the assistance and cooperation of the CDC as well as the $2 million aid.
Mr Hun Sen also acknowledged the important role of the US in the region and expressed appreciation for the contribution of the US in reducing the gap between the Lower Mekong countries and other Asean member states.