11 July 2024

Cambodia has offered to use the upcoming ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh next week to host talks between Russia and Ukraine, according to a senior official of the Cambodian Foreign Ministry.

The Khmer Times reported that Prime Minister Hun Sen has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend related ASEAN summits while Ukraine’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has agreed to visit Cambodia for the signing of the Instrument of Accession to the Treaty on Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

“We are now waiting for confirmation from the Russian side,” it quoted Foreign Affairs spokesman Chum Sounry as saying.

Sounry said the arrangement for Kuleba to sign the TAC during the upcoming Summits has not yet been completed.

“As the host country, Cambodia is ready to arrange for a Russia-Ukraine meeting in Phnom Penh if both sides wish to have it,” Sounry said. “But so far, there is no request from either side to arrange for their meeting.”

The Khmer Times also reported that in his efforts to seek a solution, Hun Sen will speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by phone on Tuesday.

“I think it is important that I explain the purpose of the meeting. We must meet with him, as I have also invited Russian president (Vladimir) Putin to attend the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh, although we have not yet received a response. Zelenskyy specifically requested a conversation with the ASEAN chair,” it quoted Hun Sen as saying while distributing rice seeds to families in Kampong Thom province on Saturday.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said Monday that as the chair of ASEAN, Cambodia adheres to a neutral stand, stating: “We are not biased towards either Russia or Ukraine.”

He said Cambodia hoped for a positive meeting between the two sides..

“The hope for our efforts is not to have a diplomatic crisis at the summit,” he said. “We look forward to a peaceful and cooperative dialogue.”