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H.E. SOK Chenda Sophea: "La Francophonie is an area for people to meet, discover, understand each other and interact in a spirit of solidarity and strategy"

Hosting the Francophonie Summit in Cambodia in 2026 is perhaps one of the dearest wishes of H.E. SOK Chenda, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. In any case, it is the subject on which he showed the most enthusiasm when he addressed the participants in the Journée Internationale de la Francophonie last Thursday.

H.E. SOK Chenda, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
H.E. SOK Chenda, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

"It is with great pleasure that, this evening, on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, we welcome you and, as such, I would like to thank you for agreeing to join us in celebrating this day of the Francophonie which, as His Excellency the Ambassador reminded us, was normally on the was normally on 20 March, in reference to 20 March 1970, when the Niamey Convention was signed, creating the Agence de Coopération culturelle et technique, which later became the OIF, the Organisation internationale de la francophonie," announced the Minister, pursuing:

''Her Excellency, Mrs Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary General of the OIF, has placed 20 March 2004 under the banner of "Create, innovate, undertake in French".

"For me, the Francophonie embodies a space for encounters, discoveries, mutual understanding and interrelationships based on solidarity and strategy in the service of action and the universal values that unite us."

"This ability to share our knowledge and know-how, our struggles for rights and freedoms, our successes and our experiences make the Francophonie today a force for proposals and action, a lever for progress and development. The French-speaking world is more than just a linguistic community.

H.E. SOK Chenda went on to quote a little phrase by the late President of Senegal, His Excellency Mr Léopold Sédar Senghor, a great poet:

"In the rubble of colonialism, we found this marvellous tool: the French language."

"The illustrious founding fathers of the Francophonie simply put French at the service of solidarity, development and rapprochement between peoples through dialogue between civilisations. It is up to us, the current generation, and even more so to future generations, to ensure that the values of the Francophonie are perpetuated. Creating, innovating and undertaking in French is the subject that brings us together this evening. The OIF is a place, and even more so a space in its own right, where its members encourage creation, innovation and entrepreneurship in French. The potential for creation, innovation and entrepreneurship in French in our region is enormous," added Mr Chenda.

Economic future

The Minister went on to cite the development opportunities to be seized in the region, which accounts for almost 60% of the world's GDP and nearly 50% of international trade. Asia-Pacific is the world's most dynamic economic zone, accounting for 70% of global economic growth.

"With this in mind, Prime Minister Samdech Thipadei Hun Manet, when he chaired the Business Forum at the MEDEF headquarters, met with the chairmen and representatives of French groups such as Total, Vinci and Accor, which already have a presence in Cambodia, as well as EDF and Alstom, which we hope to see in the country soon", said the Minister, emphasising:

"On 6 December 2023, our Prime Minister sent a letter to her Excellency, the Secretary General of the OEF, submitting Cambodia's bid to host the 2026 summit.

"This is a historic decision for the history of our country, which could end in a fine reward, given that the late His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk was the only Asian head of state to be one of the founding fathers of the Francophonie and its institutional history, thus becoming a key figure in the history of this organisation."

Francophonie Summit in 2026

"On the strength of our young experience, but driven by the iron will that characterises us Khmers, we were able to organise the successive ASEAN summits in 2022 with great success, all under the leadership of H.E. Prak Sokhonn, whom I thank for respecting our invitation, because I really wanted to pay tribute to him for the very successful summits under his leadership. We also hosted the Asian Games last year''.

"We have confirmed our bid, our wish, to organise the Francophonie Summit in 2026. So far, Cambodia is the only candidate to host this summit, but let's not sell the bear's skin before we've killed it. The road ahead is likely to be long and full of pitfalls before the official decision is made in Paris next October. We are aware of the challenges that await us on the road to making this bid official, but we remain confident in our ability to demonstrate our commitment and our capacity to host such a large-scale and much-desired event in 2026", concluded H.E. SOK Chenda.

 

Listen to the full speech by H.E. SOK Chenda

 

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