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US, Cambodia Defense Chiefs To Meet

The Cambodian defense minister will meet with the US secretary of defense later this month, in the first such high-level meeting since the 1970s, officials said.

Gen. Tea Banh will meet with Robert Gates to strengthen relations between the two militaries, including an exercise for multi-national peacekeeping operations, Tea Banh told VOA Khmer by phone.

“The most important thing is we need to talk to each other, to understand each other on some points that we will complete together,” he said.

Tea Banh will lead a delegation from Sept. 18 to Sept. 23, according to the Cambodian Embassy.

That delegation will include the deputy commander of the Royal Gendarmerie, Veat Tha, and deputy director of peace operations, Tat Chantha, among other high-ranking military officers.

The visit comes amid warming relations between the two militaries, including the addition of a military attachés this year and cooperation on crimes such as human and drug trafficking.

The US has provided direct military aid since 2006. In September, the US provided more than $6 million in military equipment to the armed forces.