Ambassador Mark Gooding was delighted to meet Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen and discuss efforts to strengthen UK-Cambodia relations in 2013, the 60th anniversary year of the British Embassy in Phnom Penh. The Ambassador outlined the UK’s support for Cambodia’s economic and political development. He highlighted the increasing number of British visitors to Cambodia (110,000 in 2012) and briefed the Prime Minister on the growing education links, including plans to establish a UK alumni association in Cambodia this year.
The Ambassador announced a new UK contribution of £1.4 million (US$ 2.2 million) to the international component of the ECCC, bring the total UK contribution to the ECCC to over US $10 million. The Ambassador underlined the UK’s commitment to the Court and to international justice, emphasising the need for the Court to continue to look for efficiencies and for more contributions, including from countries within the region.
The Ambassador welcomed the increasing trade between the UK and Cambodia: bilateral trade in goods rose by 27% in 2012 to US $ 750 million. The Ambassador said that the new UK Trade and Investment Office at the Embassy would continue to support this growth. He also announced that Lord Puttnam of Queensgate had recently been appointed as UK Trade Envoy for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Lord Puttnam would support the development of business ties between the UK and Cambodia and hoped to visit Cambodia later in the year.
The Ambassador and the Prime Minister also exchanged views about other topical issues. The Ambassador underlined the UK’s commitment to supporting a free and fair general election in Cambodia this year, both through the EU and bilaterally. The Ambassador welcomed progress in the ongoing land titling process, and looked forward to this process continuing as a way of addressing outstanding land disputes. The Ambassador and the Prime Minister also discussed the Government’s efforts to balance broader development efforts with the needs of local communities and the environment.