Cambodian PM meets Ukraine foreign minister ahead of Asia summit including Russia

PHNOM PENH, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Cambodia's leader met Ukraine's foreign minister on Wednesday in Phnom Penh, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying his country "opposes aggression" days ahead of a regional summit that Russia's foreign minister is due to attend.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is due to sign a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a senior Cambodian official said, as Kyiv seeks to strengthen ties with the bloc, which joined international condemnation of Russia's invasion.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Hun Sen said Cambodia "opposes aggression, threats or the use of violence against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of independent states".

Cambodia is hosting the ASEAN leaders' summit and also the East Asia Summit over the next few days in Phnom Penh, with some meetings due to include Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov as well as being attended by U.S. President Joe Biden.

Cambodia has been more outspoken than most of the members of the 10-member ASEAN bloc over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In the days after the invasion - which Moscow calls a special military operation - Cambodia joined almost 100 countries in co-sponsoring a U.N. resolution that condemned the invasion and called for Russian forces to withdraw. Besides Singapore, it was the only Southeast Asian country to do so.

Kao Kim Hourn, a close adviser to Hun Sen, told Reuters that the Phnom Penh reception for Kuleba was in line with ASEAN principles and Hun Sen's statement should not cause tensions with Russia at the East Asia Summit.

"The foreign minister of Ukraine will be here to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, which is a very important document for the what we call the principle for guiding interstate relations within this region," Kao Kim Hourn said.

"ASEAN has to be seen as what is called an honest peace broker," he said.

He added that Lavrov was confirmed to attend the East Asia Summit, but as Ukraine is not a member of the grouping Kuleba would not attend.

Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Additional reporting by Kay Johnson in Bangkok Writing by Ed Davies Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Mark Heinrich

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