National Assembly (NA) president Khuon Sudary described how Cambodia’s excellent relationship with Australia is a strategic partnership, based on solidarity, friendship, honesty and mutual understanding.

Sudary made her comments in a January 23 social media post, following a meeting with Australian ambassador to Cambodia Justin Whyatt at the NA headquarters. 

She said Australia expressed its support for the seventh-mandate government’s Pentagonal Strategy, saying it would continue to strengthen cooperation with Cambodia’s legislative and executive branches.

“Australia supported the first phase of the Pentagonal Strategy’s development of human resources. We have improved the welfare of the people and fostered national economic growth. We have also improved gender equality, reforms and governance and strengthened security and defence,” she added.

She proposed that Australia help support the developmental goals of the NA, explaining that the NA aimed to become digitalised, in order to improve its competence and the efficiency of its work, in order to serve the interests of the people and the nation, while keeping pace with technological advances.

Sudary also requested that Australia assist Cambodia in technological training and award scholarships to officials of the NA general-secretariat, so they could pursue their education in Australia.

NA spokesman Keo Piseth told a January 23 press conference that the Australian ambassador had expressed his admiration for Cambodia’s transformation from a country which once required blue helmet peacekeepers to one that regularly dispatched its own troops on peacekeeping missions, under the UN umbrella.

“Australia committed to development as part of the first phase of the Pentagonal Strategy, including in the fields of agriculture, public health, energy, water resources and climate change resilience,” he said.

He added that Australia has prioritised the security and defence sectors, in order to promote global security.

The ambassador also made mention of the excellent collaboration between the NAs of both nations, saying that they have supported one another at inter-parliamentary forums.

The leader of the Cambodian NA attended the 2020 Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) in Australia, while the Australian NA leadership visited Cambodia for the 2019 APPF.