Welcome Message By Mr. OU, Sovann Honorary Consul Of Kingdom Of Cambodia In Lowell, Massachusetts

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen

It is my great pleasure and honor this morning to express my highest gratitude and greatest thank to Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Royal Kingdom of Cambodia, in the moment of inaugurating an honorary consulate of Cambodia in Lowell. I would like to take this opportunity to express my warmest welcome H. E Mr. Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for your highest honor present, my regards and thank to H.E. Hem Heng, Ambassador to the United States of America, H.E Sea Kosal, Ambassador to the United Nations, my regards and appreciation also goes to our committee for their support of this effort and put together a very nice consular office we are witnessing today. I would also like to thank all of you here for taking time to participate in the event. 

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen

The opening of the third honorary consulate today marks another milestone of the diplomatic ties between Cambodia and the United States. The missions of the honorary consulate include, but not limited to, the following:

o    Provide expedited consular services for traveling publics such as issuance of visa; renewal of passport for Cambodian who are visiting, studying, and/or working in the US; provide notarization of all legal documents when needed;

o    Promote Cambodia’s richness in historical and ecotourism opportunities in Cambodia. The consulate general in Lowell will fast tract visa application and provide necessary information to all tourists from the New England Region;

o    Promote cultural and educational exchange. The consulate will work with local and regional universities and educational institutions to seek opportunities for Cambodian students and scholars to come and study in or visit the US as well as provide a contact point for American students and scholars who are interested in studying or conducting reaches in Cambodia to advance their understanding of Cambodia’s culture, resources and opportunities.

o    Promote bilateral trade opportunity in Cambodia for American investors and vice versa. Cambodia has undertaken constant comprehensive reforms to create conducive and investor friendly environment for foreign investment. For instance, the Cambodian government has established a Council for Development of Cambodia, the highest decision making body chaired by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen aiming to facilitate and fast tract all investment applications. Cambodia has been recognized by the US government for its reputation for good labor practices; businesses currently operating in Cambodia rate political stability and an openness of the Royal Government to encourage its dialogue with the private sector as key features of the current investment environment that have attracted the attention of many potential investors. Cambodia’s membership in ASEAN and WTO has opened up the country to a regional market for American made-in-Cambodia products and services.

To achieve the above missions, we need the support of American people and cooperation of the US governments at all levels, private companies, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations who are good friends of Cambodia. Cambodia and the United States have established diplomatic ties since Cambodia gained its independence from France. The United States government had generously provided financial aid and technical supports to rebuild Cambodia after years of neglects and destruction resulting from the independence war. The most widely recognizable outcome of the US aid and support at the time was the construction of an all-weather road to the seaport of Sihanoukville, which gave Cambodia its first direct access to the sea and access to the southwestern hinterlands.

I am very humbly grateful to the US governments at all levels and the American people who have been tirelessly supportive of the Cambodian government fight against poverty through its financial aides, technical assistances and foreign investments in Cambodia.

Reciprocating the sustained support and cooperation of the American people and the US government, the Cambodian government has been offering its unwavering support and full cooperation for the US missions in Cambodia including the US efforts to search for American Missing in Action (MIA) and the global counter-terrorism; and our efforts have been widely recognized by the US counterpart. For example, a U.S. official who leads the MIA mission in Cambodia has expressed the appreciation and thankfulness of the American people and government for the assistance and good cooperation of the Royal Government of Cambodia in further searching for the remains of the U.S. soldiers missing in action (MIA). The US government has also greatly appreciated the tireless effort of the Cambodian government in carrying out counterterrorism policies. In September 2006, for instance, U.S. Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli stated that “Cambodia has made great strides in securing its border and rooting out terrorists that seek to use this country as a base of operations”.

To conclude, the honorary consulate of Cambodia is dedicated to providing quality consular services and strengthening diplomatic relation between the two countries and people for social, cultural and economic development. I am fully optimistic that with the full support of cooperation of the United State our consulate missions will be successfully accomplished. Since this time of a year Cambodia celebrates its traditional new year I wish you all good health, happiness, prosperity, and longevity.

Thank you,

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