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PM Asks Laos to Increase Border Trade After Lifting Mask-Wearing in 3 Provinces Bordering Laos

PHNOM PENH: Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Government of Laos to strengthen border trade relations after he decided to lift mask-wearing protocols in four provinces, including Ratanakkiri, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear provinces, which border Laos. He made this request while meeting with the new Lao Ambassador to Cambodia, Bou Keo Phum Vong Say, at the Peace Palace on Monday morning.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Hun Sen praised the long-standing relationship between Cambodia and Laos, and urged for the further enhancement and strengthening of this relationship.

He particularly urged Laos to increase trade relations with Cambodia, especially in the border provinces, where Covid-19 cases are low and mask-wearing has also been lifted, making the conditions in those provinces increasingly conducive for trade.

The Prime Minister’s Personal Assistant, Eang Sophalleth, told reporters after the meeting that, "Prime Minister Hun Sen informed Ambassador Phum Vong Say about lifting the mask-mandate in three provinces bordering Laos, which now have a better situation in relation to Covid-19. In this regard, the Prime Minister requested Ambassador Phum Vong Say to boost economic activities along the border and to look at other potential trade opportunities under the new circumstances.”

It should be noted that trade between Cambodia and Laos jumped from more than US $10 million in 2019 to more than US $100 million in 2020.

During the meeting, the new Lao Ambassador to Cambodia also thanked Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian people for providing assistance to the Lao government in the fight against Covid-19. He pledged that during his mission in Cambodia, he would work to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

On Sunday, 10 April, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced through a special voice message that mask-wearing restrictions would be lifted in Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear provinces, not as a test of people's lives, but in order to gauge the resilience of the Cambodian community after the success of the vaccination campaign.

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