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British Minister Makes Visit to Ruling Party and Opposition

British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire, left, interacts with India’s Gujarat state chief minister Narendra Modi at Gandhinagar in Gujarat, India, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Swire was accompanied by a large business delegation including a team from UK's oil and gas major BG Group. According to local news reports, the BG Group, Wednesday signed an agreement for the supply up to 2.5 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the state-owned Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
Hugo Swire, Minister of State for the British Foreign Office, made his first visit to Cambodia on Friday, meeting with senior officials as well as members of the opposition.

Swire met with Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and later with Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Koy Kuong, a spokesman for Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry, said Swire had emphasized the importance of negotiations and peaceful settlement of the country’s ongoing political impasse.

“Up to now, the Cambodian People’s Party always has the door open for negotiation on reforms demanded by the Cambodia National Rescue Party,” he said.

Swire met with members of the opposition Rescue Party Friday afternoon.

“He was interested in the situation of political and human rights violations in Cambodia and wanted the Cambodia National Rescue Party to express our positions on the current political situation,” Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the party, said after the meeting.

The opposition reiterated its calls for a recall election and for reform of key political institutions, Yim Sovann said. They asked Swire to reiterate their position with Hun Sen, he said.

Eang Sophalleth, a spokesman for Hun Sen, said later the two men met over economic relations but did not have “political discussions.”

Swire could not be reached for comment late Friday, but he said in a statement Thursday he planned to meet with officials over economic relations between the two countries and to “better understand the current political landscape and challenges that remain in ensuring a peaceful, secure and democratic future for Cambodia.”