Morocco, Cambodia Agree to Boost Bilateral Relations – Joint Statement
Morocco and Cambodia have agreed to undertake a series of actions and initiatives to give a new dimension and momentum to relations between the two countries. This was expressed in a joint statement issued after talks, held Monday in Rabat, between the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates Nasser Bourita and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Prak Sokhonn. On this occasion, the two parties welcomed the excellent relations between their respective countries, at the highest level, marked by friendship, mutual respect, consultation and coordination on issues of common interest. On this occasion, Bourita hailed the remarkable progress made in Cambodia under the High Leadership of King Norodom Sihamoni, praising the Cambodian government led by Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, for the role it has played in ensuring decades of peace, stability and continuous development of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The two sides welcomed in this regard the meeting held on January 25, 2022 by video conference at the ministerial level, as well as the third session of the Moroccan-Cambodian virtual political consultations held on May 18 of the same year at the level of directors. In this regard, they stressed the importance of advancing the bilateral political-diplomatic dialogue. They also discussed, in a substantial way, the ways and means to raise this bilateral dialogue to the level of the expectations of the political leadership and the aspirations of the peoples of the two friendly countries, underlines the joint statement. The two ministers stressed the need to promote trade and investment flows and develop cultural and scientific exchanges between Morocco and Cambodia, capitalizing on their respective privileged positions in the regions of Africa and Southeast Asia. In this regard, Bourita and Sokhonn called for the encouragement of business communities of both countries to intensify trade and investment. The two officials also agreed on the importance of organizing, in the near future, a business forum in Morocco or Cambodia, which will provide an opportunity for public and private operators of both countries to learn more about the economic potential and identify sectoral opportunities on both sides. In addition, the two sides stressed the convergence of views of Morocco and Cambodia on a number of regional and international issues and renewed their firm commitment to promote multilateralism and contribute to the global agenda for peace, security and development. Bourita did not fail to welcome the success of the Cambodian chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2022, highlighting the importance of the results of all the Summits and related meetings held in Cambodia throughout the last year. Regarding Morocco’s bid to become an ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partner (SDP), Sokhonn conveyed to his Moroccan counterpart his country’s full support for the Moroccan bid, in line with the ASEAN process and consensus. The two ministers also welcomed the mutual votes and support within international organizations. In this regard, Bourita reiterated the support of Morocco to the application of the Kingdom of Cambodia as an observer member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Similarly, and given the friendly relations between the two kingdoms and Morocco’s leadership and commitment to maintaining international security, Sokhonn expressed Cambodia’s support for Morocco’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for 2028-2029. Regarding parliamentary diplomacy, the two ministers welcomed the exchanges between the Moroccan Parliament and the National Assembly of Cambodia, particularly at the bilateral and regional levels, as well as within the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) and at the multilateral level. They acknowledged the positive cooperation between the two parliaments and reaffirmed their commitment to uphold multilateralism based on international laws and to work closely together to strengthen the NAM parliamentary network to protect, preserve and promote peace and sustainable development. The two ministers also reviewed their cooperation within the AIPA, of which Morocco is an observer member, before exchanging views on ways to develop contacts between the two peoples through scholarships, academic exchanges, organization of cultural events, etc. At the end of the meeting, the two parties agreed to establish, in the near future, a roadmap for the deepening of bilateral relations in order to develop a comprehensive partnership. The two ministers also welcomed the signing of the agreement on air services and expressed their belief that this agreement will contribute to the promotion of tourism, business, trade and people-to-people relations between the two countries. In the same spirit, the two ministers agreed to expedite the finalization and signing of three other agreements, namely the Agreement between Morocco and Cambodia for the reciprocal promotion and protection of investments, the Agreement between Morocco and Cambodia for the elimination of double taxation on income and the prevention of tax evasion and avoidance, as well as the Agreement on cultural, technical, scientific and economic cooperation. These three documents will give a new impetus to bilateral economic relations and cooperation, as they constitute a solid basis for the development of trade and investment, reflecting the excellent relations that bind the two countries at the political and diplomatic levels. Furthermore, and based on the shared objectives and ambitions for the promotion of bilateral relations and beyond, the Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, will pay an official visit to Morocco at the invitation of the Head of Government, Aziz Akhannouch. Sokhonn has, in turn, sent an official invitation to Bourita to make an official visit to Cambodia in the near future, an invitation accepted by the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs. Bourita and his Cambodian counterpart have also decided to invite the authorities concerned to increase the number of visits of economic and trade delegations in one or the other country and to encourage participation in economic, cultural and artistic events organized in Morocco and Cambodia. This visit, the first of its kind in Morocco of a Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs, aims to give a new impetus to bilateral relations and the promotion of economic, sectoral, cultural and scientific cooperation between the two countries. In addition to his talks with Bourita, Sokhonn, who is on an official visit to Morocco, March 27 and 28, 2023, paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rachid Talbi Alami.