Bastille Day is a meaningful moment for French people. It is a time to unite around our values, around what our country represents; it is also a time to celebrate our friends, our partners, active and supportive in our political and economic relations, scientific, educative and cultural co-operation, in our development projects.
Here in Cambodia, it is a time to celebrate the relationship between our two countries. There have been many opportunities in the past 12 months to reinforce the unique bond between Cambodia and France.
His Majesty the King took part last May in the ceremony organised in Paris for the 25th anniversary of the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor (ICC Angkor). It was very meaningful as this anniversary shows the road travelled since the ICC was created, shortly after Angkor was registered on the UNESCO world heritage list.
Since then, France has co-chaired the ICC, together with Japan, supporting the Cambodian authorities to preserve and develop Angkor. Today, the ICC Angkor is considered as a reference worldwide.
We were also very honoured that His Excellency Dr Aun Pornmoniroth, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Finance, paid his first official visit to France in May to take part in an international forum organized by his French counterpart, Mr Bruno Le Maire, and have fruitful bilateral meetings.
We could also mention the visit of a high level delegation from the French National assembly to Cambodia last December.
This year, we have opened an Alliance Française in Siem Reap, as an answer to the demand for French language. We also held, for the first time, a French Market in Phnom Penh, showcasing French products and partnerships between French and Cambodian people and companies. We were happy to welcome 8,000 Cambodian visitors over just one day.
It comes as no surprise that our trade relations evolve positively: our bilateral exchanges have multiplied by three in five years and Cambodia is the 5th destination for French investments in Asean. 150 French business men and women interested in Asean chose Phnom Penh for their annual meeting, last month, for the first time ever.
In 25 years, more than $594 million were allocated by the French Development Agency, to support inclusive growth in Cambodia.
This year again, meaningful projects have been finalised with the Cambodian authorities and other donors in priority sectors that are water management and sanitation, agriculture, vocational training and energy.
In a world facing many global challenges and threats, France and Cambodia are partners.
This year, France chairs the G-7and has declared the fight against inequalities its priority. To contribute to reduce inequalities in the field of health, France will host the international replenishment conference of the Global Fund to fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, on October 10. France is the second donor to the Global Fund and Cambodia has excellent results fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
We will continue to work together against these epidemics and the replenishment conference will be an important time to highlight the successes of the Global Fund and Cambodia.
In November,the second International Paris Forum on Peace and Governance will be convened.
President Emmanuel Macron wants it to be a platform for concrete and innovative projects that can help better our world. Last year, 65 heads of states and governments, 121 project bearers and 6,000 actors of the civil society took part in the forum.
We call on project bearers from Cambodia to come to Paris for this unique opportunity.
Let me conclude by saying that it is a French tradition to celebrate the Fête nationale with a dancing party. There will be dancing parties on July 13 in Phnom Penh and on July 14 in Siem Reap.
Please check Facebook for more information and join us for joyful celebrations!