German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s first visit to Cambodia ended on Thursday after a wide range of talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen and representatives of civil society groups.
The German Embassy in Phnom Penh said that Steinmeier, First Lady Elke Büdenbender and the business delegation are now on their way to Penang, Malaysia, as part of his Indo-Pacific trip to boost political and economic ties.
The embassy added that Steinmeier also talked about the recent shuttering of Voice of Democracy (VoD).
“With representatives of Cambodia’s Civil Society, President #Steinmeier discussed the situation of human and political rights. The closure of @VODKhmer was also raised, as freedom of press is a main pillar of free and fair elections,” the German Embassy said in a tweet.
During the visit, the embassy said Steinmeier also had “a broad exchange on the political situation in #Cambodia” with former opposition leader Kem Sokha.
Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement that various aspects of bilateral, multilateral cooperation, regional and international issues of common interest and concern were discussed during Steinmeier’s three-day visit.
The statement added that Hun Sen had expressed “his very deep gratitude and heartfelt appreciation” for Germany’s continued support and contribution to the country’s socio-economic development, including, education, culture, rural development, poverty reduction, energy, mine clearance, good governance, decentralization and land reform.
Hun Sen said that Germany, among the 27 EU countries, is Cambodia’s biggest bilateral trading partner and he appreciated Berlin’s support for mine clearance activities in Cambodia since 1994. The Prime Minister also informed Steinmeier that the country aims to be mine-free by 2025.
According to the statement, Steinmeier also discussed combating climate change and using renewable energy as Hun Sen urged German businesses to choose Cambodia as their FDI destination.