President to visit Cambodia today

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President Maithripala Sirisena is set to arrive in Phnom Penh, Cambodia today (07) for a four-day state visit, his first to the Kingdom.

According to a statement of the Cambodian Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday, President’s visit is to reciprocate an invitation from King Norodom Sihamoni. He will also have a royal audience with the King at the Royal Palace, the statement added.

“President Maithripala Sirisena will have a meeting with [Prime Minister Hun Sen], during which various fields of bilateral cooperation will be discussed, aiming to further strengthen friendly ties between the two countries which are deeply connected through Buddhism,” the statement said.

“The two leaders will also exchange views on regional and international issues of common concern and interest. Both leaders will witness the signing of a number of cooperation documents,” it added.

During his stay in Phnom Penh, President Sirisena will visit Wat Lanka Preah Kosamaram pagoda to meet with senior Buddhist monks.

The President and members of his delegation will also visit the temples in the Angkor Archeological Park in Siem Reap province.

“Subsequently, he will attend Na-Tree Planting ceremony at the Meditation Centre of Oudong Mountain which received a gift of 10 Na Trees from the president,” it said.

“President Maithripala Sirisena’s first visit to Cambodia will significantly strengthen the bonds of friendship and expand cooperation in economic, trade, tourism and cultural fields between Cambodia and Sri Lanka,” the statement added.

Citing data from the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Ket Sophann yesterday said trade between Cambodia and Sri Lanka reached $1.7 million in the first six months in 2018. In 2017, trade between both countries reached $4.7 million, he added.

Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday said President Sirisena’s first state visit to the Kingdom will strengthen the relationship between both nations.

“I think, since the beginning, the relationship between both countries has been a normal one, and the bilateral trade [volume] between both countries is still small,” he said. “But they actively exchange on culture and religion.”

He added that Cambodia and Sri Lanka should support each other on the international stage.

“I think his [President Maithripala Sirisena] visit is a good start to strengthen bilateral relations between both countries,” he said. “It also reflects the diplomatic development of the Kingdom as our leaders are regularly spending time to visit other countries and other foreign leaders also pay their visit to the Kingdom.”