Phnom Penh (FN), Jul. 5 – Cambodian Senate President Samdech Techo Hun Sen and French Ambassador to Cambodia Jacques Pellet expressed satisfaction over the increase in trade between Cambodia and France, as well as the rise in French investment in Cambodia.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen received a courtesy call by French Ambassador to Cambodia Jacques Pellet on 4 July 2024 at the Senate.

During the meeting, the French ambassador informed Samdech Techo about the cooperation between the Cambodian Senate and the French Senate since the establishment of the first Cambodian Senate in 1999. He also underlined the close strengthening of Cambodia-France bilateral cooperation through the exchange of high-level visits, including Samdech Techo's visit to France at the end of 2022, the king's visit in 2023, and the first official visit of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet in January 2024.

Jacques Pellet added that he was honoured to welcome Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron, who will lead the sports delegation to the upcoming Summer Games.

At the same time, France is very pleased and fully supports Cambodia's candidacy to host the 2026 Francophone Summit, which will be attended by more than 90 countries. Cambodia will be the second ASEAN country to host the summit after Vietnam in 1997, where France also assisted in the organisation.

The ambassador expressed his satisfaction with the use of French by the Cambodian leadership and people. He also informed Samdech Thipadei about the proposal to expand the French High School René Descartes in Phnom Penh due to the high number of student applications that the school cannot currently accommodate.

He also informed Samdech Techo about the growth of the Cambodian-French economy, noting the steady increase in French companies' investments in Cambodia. Next week, the French Embassy, in collaboration with Cambodian partners, will host a Cambodia-France Business Forum with the participation of 250 French private investors. Prime Minister Hun Manet will deliver the opening remarks at the Business Forum, accompanied by interventions from seven Cambodian government ministers, all of whom speak French.

Last week, the ambassador also attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the third phase of the Bak Kheng Water Treatment Plant, attended by French company Vinci Constructions. This is a major achievement of the cooperation between the Cambodian government, the French Embassy, and the French Agency for Development (AFD). Assistance to Cambodia through the AFD has increased from 100 million euros to 215 million euros for vocational training, energy, and water production.

At the same time, the ambassador also informed Samdech Techo about the planned visit to Cambodia by President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher, at the end of 2024.

The ambassador also announced the death of Roland Dumas, the 101-year-old former French Foreign Minister, who co-chaired several meetings during the peace talks leading to the signing of the Paris Agreement on Cambodia in 1991.

For his part, Samdech Techo Hun Sen praised the progress of Cambodia-France cooperation and relations, noting that they are closer and more developed. Samdech Techo celebrated the French National Day on 14 July and commemorated the reconstruction of the Khmer-French War Memorial, which was officially inaugurated on 14 July 2023.

Samdech Techo wished France success in hosting the Summer Olympics and the 19th Francophone Summit in 2024 and thanked Cambodian athletes for inviting them to the Olympics.

On the occasion, Samdech Techo Hun Sen praised the construction of the third phase of the Bak Kheng Water Treatment Plant, which will ensure that the people in Phnom Penh and Takhmao no longer lack clean water. Samdech Techo also welcomed and congratulated the organization of the Cambodia-France Business Forum next week.

Samdech Techo also recalled the establishment of the Cambodian Senate in 1999, which was a necessary requirement for the nation and a continuation of the two-tier parliamentary system from the past. In the 5th legislature of the Senate, Samdech Techo set out two main priorities. The first priority is parliamentary diplomacy due to the rapidly evolving and unpredictable global situation, which requires Cambodia to properly analyse the situation to avoid becoming a target country in geopolitical competition from superpowers. The second priority is the accountability of the Senate before the electorate, with all senators required to be accountable to the electorate.

Samdech Techo also thanked France for supporting Cambodia's candidacy to host the Francophonie Summit in 2026. He suggested that the French Embassy discuss with partners and relevant institutions to expand the teaching of French in Cambodia, as the need to learn French will not decrease.

Samdech Techo expressed his deepest condolences and shock over the death of Roland Dumas. He shared his deepest condolences, considering Roland Dumas as one of the benefactors of Cambodia who assisted in the negotiations and preparation of the Paris Peace Agreement.

Samdech Techo recalled many memories and working relationships that Roland Dumas fostered for peace in Cambodia.

Lastly, both sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common concern and reaffirmed their commitment to continuing bilateral cooperation in the fields of diplomacy, parliament, economy, trade, investment, health, military, digital education, culture through the peacekeepers, infrastructure, and mutual support in the international arena. They aim to contribute to maintaining global peace and security, tackling climate change, and combating the use of plastics and HIV, among other issues.