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Cambodian PM Leaves for Kuwait Visit

Prime Minister Hun Sen left Tuesday for a first-ever visit to Kuwait, in an effort to boost economic relations between the two countries.

Hun Sen flew Tuesday on a plane provided by the Middle Eastern nation and is scheduled to pay a four-day visit, accompanied by a delegation of 40 government officials and businessmen.

Cambodian officials are scheduled to sign agreements on Kuwaiti technical aid to construct irrigation systems and a hydropower project in Kampong Thom province, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, who is also on the delegation, told reporters Tuesday before departing.

Officials will sign agreements on direct flights and road construction on some areas in the northwest of Cambodia, Hor Namhong said.

The delegation will also discuss trade, exchange, investment and rice, he said.

“We will exchange views about rice,” he said. “This year we have remaining 3 million tons of rice for export, so we could export to sell it in Kuwait and other countries in the Persian Gulf.”

Tourism Minister Thong Korn said he believed more tourists from the Middle East would be coming to Cambodia.

In 2008, about 2 percent of visitors to the kingdom come from the Middle East. Less than 1 percent came from Kuwait, he said.

The prime minister’s trip follows an August 2008 visit by Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmed al-Sabah. During that visit Kuwait pledged nearly $550 million in agricultural loans in exchange for food security.