(Posted by CAAI News Media)
Cambodian National Assembly (NA) Head Heng Samrin will lead a lawmaker delegation to visit Russia, according to the official invitation from Sergey M.Mironov, Chairman of the federation council of Russian federation, an NA press release said on Monday.
Heng Samrin will pay an official visit from November 4 to 10 to strengthen relations between the two countries, the release said.
The Cambodian delegation plans to meet with Sergery and other senior officials from the Council of Federation, it added.
Both sides will also discuss the US$1.5 billion debt owed by Cambodia dating from the 1980s.
Cheam Yeab, chairman of the NA Finance Committee, could not be reached for comment yesterday. He said in August that Russia agreed to cancel most of Cambodia’s debt.
The vice chairman of the Russian Parliament Valery A. Yazev told the Cambodian Government during a visit last month that up to 70 percent of the debt was being cancelled by Moscow, Cheam Yeab. But later on the Russian Finance Ministry denied saying that Russia agreed to forgive any debt.
Ouk Rabun, secretary of state for the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said that Cambodia owes more than US$2.3 billion to various countries. This amount does not include the potentially forgiven Russian debt. During the 1980s, Cambodia was a close Russian ally and relied heavily on Moscow for weapons, food and infrastructure equipment. In the past few years, Russian investors have created mega projects in Cambodia. According to a report from Cambodian investment broad of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), Russia invested over US$234 million in Cambodi a in the first six months of this year, focusing on tourism resorts and telecommunications. The bilateral trade volume between the two countries was worth about over US$20 million in 2008.
Cambodia and Russia, old friend from the cold war, first established diplomatic ties in 1956 and re-established diplomatic ties after the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979. The 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties was celebrated in May 19, 2006.