A public ceremony inaugurating Cambodia’s honorary consulate in Massachusetts is slated for Sunday, according to Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Kuy Kuong.
Overseeing the ceremony will be Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, who will visit the consulate in the city of Lowell, which counts America’s second-largest Cambodian community, most of whom are refugees who resettled there during the 1980s.
Headed by Ou Sovann, a former consular officer for the Cambodian Embassy in the US who is also a defector from the opposition SRP to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s CPP, the office will provide information on requirements for entering Cambodia and assistance to citizens as well as general tourism information, Mr Kuy Kuong said.
“This consulate is important for Cambodians, tourists, overseas investors. If they want to come to Cambodia they should connect with this consulate and do not need to go to the Royal Cambodia Embassy,” he said Wednesday.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the consulate is an important step in relations between the two countries and will greatly help the Cambodian community in the area.
“It is easy for the Cambodian-Americans who live there to communicate with the Cambodian government,” he said.
Currently, Cambodia has one other honorary consulate in Seattle, Washington. The government also plans to reopen the honorary consulate it had operated in Long Beach, California, Mr Kuoy Kong said.
According to 2007 figures from the US Census Bureau, there are about 250,000 residents who claim Cambodian descent in America. Roughly a third of that population lives in California while about 10 percent resides in Massachusetts.
(Additional reporting by Frank Radosevich)