11 July 2024

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia  — Ukraine signed a cooperation treaty with ASEAN on Thursday in a largely symbolic act that comes as Kyiv tries to mobilize international support for the war against Russia.

But ASEAN countries failed to reach a consensus to let Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to address its summit through a video statement.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba signed the “Treaty on Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia” ahead of the annual summit in Phnom Penh.

A total of 50 parties have signed the cooperation pact, which was originally signed among ASEAN member states in 1976 to promote peace and cooperation within the region. It is a prerequisite for countries that want to establish formal partnerships with ASEAN. China, India, the United States, the European Union and Russia are among its other signatories.

“Developing strong ties with ASEAN is an important part of Ukraine’s Asia strategy,” Kuleba tweeted after the signing ceremony.

The Khmer Times reported that in a recent phone conversation with ASEAN Chairman, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, Ukrainian leader Zelenskyy requested to deliver a video statement during the summit amid the ongoing conflict with Russia.

However, it said the Embassy of Ukraine in Vietnam has confirmed that the plan was being cancelled due to a lack of consensus among the bloc’s member states.

“Unfortunately, the online address is not being planned anymore,” it said.

Kung Phoak, Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs secretary of state and spokesman for the summit, confirmed Thursday that Zelenskyy will miss the opportunity to deliver a video statement during the summit, according to the Khmer Times.

“The ASEAN decision must be done in consensus,” he said, noting that after a meeting the bloc could not find consensus on Zelenskyy’s request.