Monday, July 25, 2005

UK Minister to Visit Cambodia

UK Foreign Office Minister for Trade Ian Pearson MP will visit Cambodia, Thailand and Laos from 25 - 29 July.

From 25-26 July Mr Pearson will visit Cambodia. He will meet Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, members of the British community in Phnom Penh and a local NGO training former street children in the catering industry.

In Thailand, from 26-27 July, the Minister will meet Deputy Prime Minister Dr Surakiart Sathirathai and other senior Ministers. The visit will focus on the burgeoning trade and investment relationship between the UK and Thailand. Last year, the UK was the second largest European exporter to Thailand, whilst the UK was Thailand's largest export market in Europe.

From 28-29 July, the Minister will attend the EU/ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference and the ASEAN Regional Forum Meeting in Laos alongside Javier Solana, the EU's high representative. The main topics for discussion will be regional security, trade and counter-terrorism.

Speaking ahead of his trip, Mr Pearson said:

"I look forward to meeting Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh, and raising issues of mutual interest including the forthcoming Khmer Rouge tribunal and good governance issues. One of the Foreign Office's international crime priorities is helping Cambodia to tackle child sex tourism and to assist the victims of the trade. During my visit, I will attend a training session for Cambodian police on using a UK-funded child sex offenders register, and see the Cambodian version of ChildLine, where cases of abuse can be reported in confidence.

"In Thailand I will learn what further opportunities there are for UK businesses to invest in the growing market there. I will be giving a speech to the British Chamber of Commerce, setting out the benefits for Thai companies looking to invest in the UK.

"At the meetings in Vientiane the EU will push forward the World Trade Organisation agenda, and discuss how we can enhance counter-terrorism cooperation within the region. This will be a key opportunity to raise our concerns about Burma in bilateral meetings with Asian countries."

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