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Enhancing the Mekong-US Partnership for Regional Development and Cooperation

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On June 5-6, 2024, senior officials convened in the Lao PDR to foster deeper collaboration under the Mekong-US Partnership (MUSP) and the Friends of Mekong (FoM) frameworks, focusing on sustainable development strategies for the Mekong region. Meas Kim Heng, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia and the country’s leader for Mekong Cooperation, represented Cambodia in these crucial discussions.

The Mekong-US Partnership Senior Officials’ Meeting delved into a comprehensive review and strategic planning session covering the initiatives and future trajectory of the MUSP. The discussion focused particularly on the Mekong-US Partnership Action Plan for 2024-2026. The officials also prepared the groundwork for the prospective Mekong-US Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, setting a foundation for higher-level diplomatic engagement.

Simultaneously, the FoM Senior Officials’ Meeting was conducted adjacent to the MUSP discussions at the Secretariat of the Mekong River Commission. This meeting, themed “Strengthening the Partnership for Connectivity and Resilience of the Mekong,” attracted representatives from various Mekong countries and additional development partners. The session aimed to pinpoint critical areas of development within the Mekong sub-region and to enhance the collaborative and management efficacy of the FoM mechanism.

Key issues addressed included infrastructural connectivity, environmental resilience, and socio-economic growth within the Mekong region. Participants of the meeting examined the successful areas of ongoing cooperation while also identifying new opportunities that could benefit from strengthened partnership and shared expertise.

Meas Kim Heng expressed his gratitude towards the United States and all the Friends of Mekong nations for their previous and continuing support in the developmental efforts of the Mekong sub-region. Emphasizing the need for expanded cooperation, he highlighted four significant areas where further support was crucial:

  • Public and Private Partnership: Enhancing collaboration between government bodies and private entities to foster economic development and innovation.
  • Human Resource Development: Investing in education and training to prepare the workforce for future challenges and opportunities.
  • Agricultural and Rural Development: Supporting the agricultural sector which sustains a large portion of the Mekong region’s population.
  • Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises and Digital Economy: Promoting small and medium-sized enterprises and integrating digital technologies to drive competitiveness and economic inclusivity.

These meetings underscored the importance of international cooperation in tackling regional challenges and ensuring that the Mekong region remains a vital and dynamic part of the global community. Through continuous collaboration, the participating nations aim to build a resilient and connected Mekong sub-region that can thrive amid the complexities of contemporary geopolitical and environmental landscapes. The Mekong-US Partnership and Friends of Mekong meetings serve as platforms not only for dialogue but also for actionable commitments that lead to tangible results in regional cooperation and development.

Source: Fresh News

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