Hun Sen and Macron Agree on Development and Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Cambodia's Prime Minister and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) president Hun Sen (L) shake hands during a joint press conference prior to their meeting at the Elysee presidential Palace in Paris on December 13, 2022. Photo by Francois Mori / AP / AFP

PHNOM PENH – Prime Minister Hun Sen on Dec. 13 met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, saying Cambodian development cannot be separated from France’s support.

Hun Sen told Macron that Cambodia will reconstruct a monument honoring Cambodian soldiers who fought in World War 1 along with the French. The monument, destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime, will be built at its original site in front of the French Embassy in Phnom Penh.

Hun Sen also posted several photos of him and Macron holding hands and embracing each other.

“Dear, honest and trustworthy partner in strengthening and expanding the friendship between Cambodia and France. Thank you, Macron, for the treatment,” Hun Sen said in a Facebook post.

Macron called the meeting an opportunity to approach new areas of cooperation within a peaceful strategy France was pursuing in line with the ASEAN strategy.

“In the sectors of water, transport, energy and tourism, France will continue to contribute to Cambodian development and in the continuation of our joint action to abolish the death penalty and fight against the death penalty and impunity,” Macron said.

“We will also discuss possible support for a free and transparent democratic process in the next election.”

Earlier, Hun Sen took part in a conference on Ukraine hosted by the French President.

During the conference, it was said that more than a billion euros had been raised and would be delivered by April to help Ukraine get through winter.  Macron tweeted, “People of Ukraine, you can count on our solidarity.”

In a joint appeal after the conference titled “In Solidarity with the Ukrainian People”, the leaders said they were aware of the suffering of the Ukrainian people resulting from the war waged by Russia.

They called for the immediate cessation of airstrikes and drone attacks on Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure.

“They would like all international partners to join in this call and exert their influence to this end,” it said.

Macron thanked Hun Sen for attending the conference which showed the continuing policy of Cambodia on top of what the country had pursued at the United Nations.

Cambodia has maintained its position on the war in terms of respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity and has advocated against the use of force, threats to use force and secession.

Cambodia was one of 143 countries to vote for a resolution to defend the principles of the UN Charter on Oct. 12, condemning the annexation of four Ukrainian regions by Moscow. Cambodia had previously voted twice for UN resolutions about the invasion.

Moreover, Cambodia will dispatch deminers to train Ukrainian personnel in Poland in collaboration with Japan.

On Dec. 14, Hun Sen, as ASEAN Chair, was due to co-chair an ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit in Brussels with President of the European Union Charles Michel.

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