Kingdom seeks support for Mekong-Ganga museum

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn during the virtual 11th MGC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Wednesday. FOREIGN MINISTRY

Cambodia called on other member states under the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) framework – Thailand, Vietnam, Lao, Myanmar and India – to support the rehabilitation of the MGC Asian Traditional Textile Museum (MGCATTM) in Siem Reap province as its operations have suffered due to Covid-19.

The request was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn at the 11th MGC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held on July 21 via video conference which Cambodia co-chaired with India.

A press release issued by the foreign ministry on July 21 quoted Sokhonn as saying that the MGCATTM, which was established in 2014 in Siem Reap, is an achievement that reflects the importance and sustainability of the MGC.

He said the tourism industry has unfortunately been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected the museum’s daily operations.

“It is only with the support of member countries can we effectively implement a recovery plan that can allow the [MGCATTM] to address all its challenges and return to normal operations,” Sokhonn said.

Sokhonn also lauded India’s contribution to improving people’s livelihoods through the Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) for Cambodia.

“Deputy Prime Minister [Prak Sokhonn] highlighted India’s commitment to financing QIPs for Cambodia and other Mekong countries, bringing about tangible results that contribute to improving people’s livelihoods across the sub-region,” said the press release.

Asian Vision Institute President Chheang Vannarith told The Post on July 22 that cultural cooperation is one of the key areas of the MGC, and the MGCATTM in Siem Reap is a landmark in that cooperation.

“Maintaining the operation of the museum is critical. I think India will continue to support this project,” he said.

In 2019, the Indian government provided Cambodia with a grant for 18 projects worth nearly $900,000 to implement QIPs under the MGC framework and implemented from 2019 to 2020 in a bid to contribute to and promote the welfare and livelihoods of Cambodians.

The MGC is an initiative of the six countries for cooperation in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and communication. It was launched in 2000 in Vientiane, Laos.

Sokhonn said that over the past two decades, many projects and activities under the MGC have contributed to the development of the Mekong sub-region, including health, education, environment and culture.

“The MGC has significantly contributed to the promotion of close relations, mutual understanding and trust, as well as the socio-economic development of the sub-region, which ultimately serve to ensure the well-being and prosperity of the peoples of the member countries,” he said.

The celebration of the 20th anniversary of MGC, scheduled for April 2020 at the ATTM in Siem Reap, was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.