First of all please allow me to express my profoundly sincere appreciation to the Czech government and HE (Andrej) Babis for warmly welcoming me and the Cambodian delegation during our stay in the beautiful capital of Prague. This is my fourth time to visit Prague. I conducted visit to Prague in between 1979 and 1984 before I became the Cambodian Prime Minister in 1985. This is a remarkable and memorable visit. I wish to take this opportune moment to express with unforgettable memories and gratitude to the valuable assistance provided by the former Czechoslovakia to the Cambodian people in time of hardships after Cambodia was liberated from the regime of the Khmer Rouge.
I thank the Czech government for clearing debt that Cambodia owed in the 1980s and converted the remaining part to development assistance to support development projects in Cambodia. I thank Czech for providing 1.5 million USD a year for a period of six years from 2018 through to 2023 [inaudible] to continue bilateral relations development.
I wholeheartedly thank the Czech government for choosing Cambodia as a country of priority for Czech to continue development cooperation programs for 2018 through to 2023. I thank the Czech Republic for providing scholarships for the Cambodian students. From 1981 through to 2019, 362 Cambodian students had had their training/studies in Czech. A number of them have been holding important roles in various state institutions of Cambodia.
Czech, to my admiration, is a country with advanced economic progress with low unemployment rate in European Union and has become the sixth safest country in the world.
My visit to Czech this time is to energize further long-standing friendship between our two countries, to strengthen political trust and to raise higher bilateral relations in a new context. The fact that HM the King Samdech Preah Borom Neat Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia visited and stayed in Czech has had an important contribution to strengthening long-term friendship between the two countries. On this point, it has clearly indicated that provision of scholarship to Cambodia is not a new thing for Czech since HM the King of Cambodia studied in Czech since 1960s. Providing human resource development assistance has been a long-term relations (that Czech has committed in the relation with Cambodia).
A while ago, HE (Andrej) Babis and I met and discussed bilateral relations in a pleasant and friendly atmosphere. The two sides exchanged views on issues of bilateral and multilateral interests to the two countries. Overall, the two sides expressed satisfactions to gradual progress made in the two countries’ cooperation as reflected through exchange of high-ranking visits, growing volume of bilateral trade, and signing of various agreements and memorandums.
This morning, the two parties signed three more papers – (1) A Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the Ministries of Health and VAMED of Czech; (2) A Memorandum of Understanding between the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce and the Czech Chamber of Commerce; and (3) A Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between National Diplomatic Institute and International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Academy of Diplomacy of the Czech Republic.
To further cooperation in health, investment, and diplomacy, the two parties agreed to organize a number of activities to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Czech and Cambodia in 2021. I am pleased to note growing trade volume between the two countries in the past three years. HE Prime Minister (Andrej) Babis and I have underlined importance of efforts to increase bilateral trade volumes based on potentials of the two countries.
On this occasion, the two countries discussed new projects relating to health, agriculture, environment, and aviation. I wish to take this opportune moment to recall Cambodia’s purchase of six L39 reconnaissance aircrafts from Czech and they have arrived in Cambodia already. This morning, I have tabled discussion on possibility that Cambodia can purchase three to four more new version L39 reconnaissance aircrafts. We will discuss this matter more. Cambodia can consider purchasing light weapons in our relations on national security and defense.
In the Cambodian and European context, I hope that Czech – which is an old and close friend of Cambodia will continue to support Cambodia and guarantee that the Cambodian embarks on without hindrance democracy, peace and sustainable development. I thank Czech once again for reaffirming its supporting position to Cambodia in the framework of European Union.
I also hope that countries in Europe acted with fairness on Cambodia as expressed by HE (the Czech) Prime Minister. I will be honored and pleased to welcome official visit of the Czech Prime Minister to Cambodia at a suitable time to continue exchanges of opinions and outlooks aimed at strengthening and raising relations between Cambodia and Czech to a new level. Upon his visit to Japan for the coronation ceremony of the Japanese emperor, I am sure Prime Minister (Andrej Babis) will have an audience in Czech with HM the King Norodom Sihamoni, who will participate also./.