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U.S. State Continued Support for ASEAN But Appear Dissatisfied Over Russian Participation

PHNOM PENH: The United States has expressed its commitment to the success of ASEAN and continuing to work with Cambodia as the ASEAN Chair, but appear to show some dissatisfaction with the confirmation that Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, will be taking part in the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting starting at the end of July.

Responding to a query from EAC News via email, U.S. Embassy Spokesperson, Stephanie Arzate, wrote, “We are committed to the success of ASEAN, but it should not be business as usual for Russia’s participation in the ministerials, given Russia’s unprovoked and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine.”

The Spokesperson’s remarks are in response to the recent confirmation that Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, will be attending the upcoming ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and related meetings, held in Cambodia from 31 July to 6 August 2022.

Cambodian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Prak Sokhonn, recently confirmed this matter, and stated that Russia is one of ASEAN’s dialogue partners, hence is included in the agenda of the ASEAN-Russia meeting. He added that Cambodia is, more importantly, a coordinating country between ASEAN and Russia, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will also co-chair the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting on ASEAN and Russia.

The Russian Embassy in Cambodia has also confirmed the participation of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Regarding U.S. participation, specifically of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in the upcoming Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in light of Russia’s invitation, Embassy Spokesperson, Stephanie Arzate, stated that the U.S. will only announce its participation closer to the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

Previously on 13 July, during a press conference held at AmCam Exchange, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Daniel Kritenbrink, stated that he would be definitely returning to Cambodia to attend the meetings in August, but was not in a position to confirm the participation of any other U.S. Officials.

The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting and related meetings will be held from 31 July to 6 August 2022 in Cambodia. Delegates attending the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting and related meetings will be from a total of 39 different countries, including Cambodia. There will be 27 countries participating in the ASEAN Regional Forum and 12 ASEAN guest delegations.

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