Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will visit Ukraine at “an appropriate time” after reaching an agreement with his counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy to send a team of deminers to the war-torn country and exchange ambassadors.
The agreements were reached during an online meeting late on Nov 1 with Hun Sen offering to use his position as this year’s chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to mediate talks between Russia and Ukraine during upcoming summits in Phnom Penh.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will also visit Cambodia for the annual ASEAN and East Asian leaders’ summit in mid-November which includes 11 dialogue partners, among others.
United States President Joe Biden has confirmed he will attend; however, Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to respond to the invitation.
A government statement said Hun Sen, “expressed concern over the recent attacks on Kiev and other cities in Ukraine, which have claimed many deaths, injuries and severe damage to civilian infrastructure, power outages and water shortages, as well as serious energy and food crises.”
It also said Hun Sen had agreed to an “invitation to pay a visit to Ukraine at a suitable time” and that, “with the collaboration with Japan, Cambodia is ready to dispatch deminers to help train Ukraine’s deminers.”
Cambodia has run an extensive demining operation since a 30-year war ended in 1998 in cooperation with Western countries and the United Nations Development Programme and hopes to be free of land mines and explosive remnants of war by 2025.
Russia is also an old Cold War ally of Cambodia.
However, Hun Sen has opposed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and last month it co-sponsored a United Nations resolution that condemned Moscow’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.