African diplomats come seeking closer ties

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn (Right) held a bilateral meeting with Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs yesterday. Heng Chivoan

Though a new government has yet to be formed after the July 29 national elections, two African foreign ministers have already visited Cambodian officials to boost bilateral cooperation.

They mark the first diplomatic encounters since the Cambodian People’s Party won a landslide victory in the polls.

According to a press release posted on the Facebook page of the Cambodian Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn held a bilateral meeting with Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mamadi Toure, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Guinea.

“The meetings focused on strengthening cooperation in the framework of the Organization International de la Francophonie (OIF) and seeking Cambodia’s support for the candidature of Louise Mushikiwabo as secretary-general of OIF at the elections to be held on October 11, in Armenia,” the release said.

Mushikiwabo and Toure will additionally pay visits to French-speaking countries in Indochina like Vietnam and Laos over the next few days.

Paul Chambers, a lecturer and special adviser for international affairs at Naresuan University, said: “The visit of two African foreign ministers to the government in Cambodia bestows legitimacy on the recent election only to the extent that Guinea and Rwanda might themselves be considered models of democracy. And in fact, these countries are not democratic models.”