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Cambodia, Canada Launch Bilateral Consultations for Closer Cooperation

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia and Canada have established formal consultations to strengthen their bilateral cooperation, according to a statement from the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing these consultations was signed on February 20th in Phnom Penh. Signatories included Secretary of State Chum Sounry from Cambodia and Director-General Alan Bowman from Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. Mr. Bowman was on a working visit to Cambodia from February 19-21.

Secretary of State Sounry hailed the MoU as a "milestone" in the relationship between the two countries and a "step forward" in advancing their cooperation. Both sides agreed to work on an agenda and schedule the first consultation meeting within the year.

Mr. Sounry also expressed gratitude for Canada's long-standing support for Cambodia's development, citing collaboration in areas like trade, education, mine clearance, and healthcare. He also welcomed the doubling of Canadian tourist arrivals in 2023 and the recent opening of a Canadian consulate in Siem Reap, seeing these developments as beneficial for tourism, trade, and investment.

On the regional front, Mr. Sounry commended Canada's upgraded partnership with ASEAN to a "Strategic Partnership" level and pledged Cambodia's support for further dialogues and, notably, the ongoing negotiations for an ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

He concluded by assuring the Canadian delegation of Cambodia's commitment to facilitating and coordinating with relevant ministries and institutions to implement the results of future consultations.

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