August 29, 2023
PHNOM PENH – Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez has invited Prime Minister Hun Manet to attend the “Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Group of 77 Plus China” in person.
The event will be held in Cuba next month, with the participation of several heads of state and government representatives, who will discuss current development challenges.
The Cuban leader extended the invitation in his congratulatory message to Manet, who assumed the top office on August 22.
In his letter, Bermudez wished Manet success in assuming the important responsibility of leading the Kingdom, and expressed Cuba’s firm commitment to promote political dialogue and continue strengthening the close relations of friendship, solidarity and cooperation between the two governments and peoples.
“It would be a great honour to receive you in Havana and count on your valuable presence and active contribution at this important summit,” the letter added.
The G-77 is a coalition of developing countries that was founded at the UN in 1964. Named for its original 77 members, it now includes 134 nations. The bloc was established to promote the economic interests of its members and enhance their ability to negotiate at the UN. Cuba holds the rotating chair for 2023.
An Sok Khoeun, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, could not be reached for comment on August 24.
This year’s summit, which will focus on the current challenges of development, including the role of science, technology and innovation, will be held in Havana on September 15 and 16.
Seun Sam, an international relations specialist at the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC), described the invitation as important, as the two countries were old friends, especially in the post-Khmer Rouge period.
“I think if Hun Manet accepts this invitation, it will be beneficial for Cambodian diplomacy, as the G-77 is a group of developing countries, but includes the presence of China. The participation of the prime minister on the international stage will increase the Kingdom’s relationships with world leaders,” he said.
Seng Vanly, a lecturer in international relations and a regional political observer, explained that the G-77 is made up of non-aligned countries and was formed long time ago. In the context of the Cold War, it was known as the Global South. Although if became less prominent following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it has become increasingly relevant against the backdrop of competition for influence between the US and China.
“The G-77 summit can be considered a forum where developing countries can play a role in setting the global political agenda for development with the superpower countries,” he said.
Regarding the Cambodia-Cuba bilateral relationship, Vanly acknowledged that the two countries have not yet shared extensive cooperation, with most of it limited to the education and human resource training sector. While Cuba has accepted many Cambodian students, their diplomatic ties predominantly extended only to mutual support on the international stage.