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Cambodia, Vietnam Sign Religious Cooperation Agreement

Sun Kim Hun, Cambodian secretary of state for the Ministry Religions and Cults, said Saturday the government had signed an agreement with Vietnam's Committee of Religious Affairs to strengthen bilateral cooperation on Buddhism.

The agreement was signed during the five-day visit of the Vietnamese delegation of Religious Affairs officials.

Sun Kim Hun said the agreement between the two countries focuses on the exchange of materials and technical assistance as well as the study exchanges.

"The agreement focuses only on Buddhism between Vietnam and Cambodia to communicate with each other," Sun Kim Hun said. "At least once a year there will be an exchange of monks."

Vietnamese Embassy spokesman Trinh Ba Cam said the agreement would strengthen relations between the two Buddhist countries.

The agreement comes as Vietnamese authorities are accused of abusing the rights of Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks, including the jailing of defrocked monk Tim Sakhorn.

Ang Chanrith, director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Organization, urged both sides to cooperate for "the sake of their national interests, and not to suppress their own people."