The governor-general of New Zealand, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, began a four-day visit to Cambodia on Thursday at the invitation of King Norodom Sihamoni to promote bilateral relations between the two countries.
During his visit, which is part of a nine-day tour that included Laos and Vietnam, Lt. Gen. Mateparae will have separate meetings with Prime Minister Hun Sen, National Assembly President Heng Samrin, Senate Vice President Say Chhum and King Sihamoni, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The visit reflects the priority New Zealand attaches to its relations with the 10 Asean members—the government having launched its Asean regional strategy just last month,” said Tony Lynch, New Zealand’s ambassador to Thailand, Burma and Cambodia.
Mr. Lynch said that New Zealand had not yet officially commented on Cambodia’s July 28 election, but that the New Zealand Embassy had been an international observer in Siem Reap province during the election.
“We expect that the governor-general will join others in the international community in noting that the elections were conducted largely peacefully, and in the expectation that complaints of irregularities are dealt with promptly and transparently,” Mr. Lynch said.
This is the first visit to Cambodia by a governor-general, which is a non-partisan position appointed on the recommendation of the prime minister of New Zealand to serve as the chief representative of the Commonwealth country’s head of state, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
Lt. Gen. Mateparae will also travel to Siem Reap, where the New Zealand government has a number of development projects in partnership with the Cambodian government, and will meet his predecessor to the position, Silvia Cartwright, who is now an international judge at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.