Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), met with new Australian ambassador Justin Whyatt on March 16 to discuss Cambodia-Australia partnership and cooperation in demining.

Thuch thanked the government and people of Australia for joining Cambodia in the pursuit of peace and development in the Kingdom since 1992 through humanitarian demining work, according to a CMAA press release.

“Australia is an important partner in this humanitarian mine action work and is now contributing to the Clearing for Results project.

“In addition to the demining work, Australia also contributed to building capacity and supporting the National Mine Action Strategic Plan 2018-2025,” he said.

Thuch added that though Cambodia has achieved remarkable progress in clearing landmines thus far, it still needs the participation of Australia and other development partners to achieve its goal of a mine-free nation by 2025.

The CMAA quoted Whyatt as saying that Cambodia and Australia are cooperative partners in all areas, including 30 years of humanitarian mine clearance work.

“The Australian ambassador complimented the progress of mine action in Cambodia, saying that he has seen the attention and the determination of the Cambodian government in addressing the problem of landmines completely by 2025, and the active participation of the Kingdom's private sector and donors,” the press release said.

Australia will continue to stand with the Cambodian government to support the work until 2025 and is also pleased to partner with the CMAA, it added.

Separately on March 15, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn met with Whyatt for discussions and praised Australia for its continued “respectful” dialogues with an equal and sovereign basis for the relationship.

The ambassador said his government is committed to strengthening bilateral ties with the Kingdom and to exploring opportunities to enhance partnerships in the ASEAN-Australia framework, according to the ministry’s press release.

Since the Australian government is developing its "Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040", the new envoy intends to encourage quality investments in Cambodia, it said.

Sokhonn also sought Australia's renewed support for mine clearance with a view to realising the goal of a mine-free Cambodia 2025 and that the two ministries look forward to the fourth round of their "Senior Official Talks" to be held in Cambodia later this year.