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Ukraine’s Zelenskyy grateful to Kingdom

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Prime Minister Hun Sen and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. SPM/AFP

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy grateful to Kingdom

Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated Cambodia’s principled position regarding the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, saying that the Kingdom strictly adheres to the UN Charter and international law.

Hun Sen reaffirmed the stance during his second phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on May 29, after their first call in November.

“Cambodia deeply respects and strictly adheres to the UN Charter and international laws,” said a press statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation after the call.

Cambodia has previously co-sponsored UN resolutions opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while Hun Sen also called for a dialogue to end the war and for the international community to refrain from imposing sanctions on the nuclear power.

During his latest phone call with Hun Sen, Zelenskyy expressed his appreciation for Cambodia’s support and co-sponsorship of the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Resolutions and Cambodia’s position on the armed conflict. He extended his thanks for Cambodia’s humanitarian assistance in helping train Ukrainian deminers last January.

Zelenskyy also appreciated Cambodia’s support for Ukraine’s bid to become an ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partner, after it signed the Instrument of Accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) in Phnom Penh during the 2022 ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh.

On the war in Ukraine, Hun Sen underscored the importance of seeking a dialogue to bring an end to the war and the sufferings of the Ukrainian people.

The premier also welcomed and congratulated Ukraine’s accession to the TAC and reaffirmed Cambodia’s continued support for Ukraine’s entry as an ASEAN partner.

Zelenskyy took to social media to announce that during the call, he thanked Hun Sen for Cambodia’s principled position in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“I noted Cambodia’s training of Ukrainian demining specialists. Hopefully this cooperation will continue. I also spoke about the Peace Formula and invited Cambodia to join concrete steps towards its implementation,” he tweeted.

Analysts suggested that Cambodia may become an important player in seeking peace and ending the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Seng Vanly, a lecturer in international relations, said the Kingdom played an important role in supporting Ukraine on a humanitarian basis like sending deminers, as well as in terms of seeking peace.

“By expressing its commitment, Cambodia demonstrates to the international community that it adheres to the rule of law and sovereignty, is against any invasion of a sovereign state, and adheres to the UN charter,” he said.

He said an example of the support Cambodia earned from its steadfast position on the war in Ukraine was the praise from the US and other western countries that the Kingdom attracted when it co-sponsored the UN resolution.

Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that any solution for the Ukraine war required international participation through a long-term diplomatic mechanism.

He also suggested the win-win policy which brought an end to the Cambodian civil war could be also used to find a solution to the conflict.

“Cambodia always stands on the side of justice, rules-based principles and the UN Charter. The Kingdom always encourages all sides to negotiate a peaceful solution, such as through diplomatic means,” he said.

He observed that Cambodia remained impartial, but was against the invasion of any sovereign state.

Thong Meng David, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, said diplomacy, a culture of peace, and rules-based policies were at the core of Cambodian foreign policy.

“Cambodia still supports peaceful actions and any mechanisms that will end the crisis in Ukraine, including through calls for a cease fire,” he said.


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