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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Cambodia
Bilateral relations between Cambodia and Switzerland are good. Switzerland supports the transition process and development efforts in Cambodia. Trade between the two countries is marginal.
The key aspects of diplomatic relations are development cooperation and transition assistance. In this context, Switzerland places a particular focus on promoting the Cambodian private sector. The Swiss Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, represents Switzerland in Cambodia. Consular matters are dealt with by the Swiss Honorary Consul in Phnom Penh. The ambassador of Cambodia who is accredited to Bern resides in Geneva.
Scholars and artists from Cambodia can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Cambodia is one of the world's poorest countries; the trade in goods between Cambodia and Switzerland is therefore marginal, but it is growing. Switzerland mainly exports pharmaceuticals, machinery and optical and medical instruments, and imports textiles and agricultural products.
Cambodia is still suffering from the legacy of some 30 years of civil war. Switzerland is following with interest the activities of the UN tribunal that is investigating the crimes of the Khmer Rouge and is working to call to account those perpetrators who are still alive.
Cambodia is one of four countries in the SDC's Mekong Regional Programme. It supports an important health project, the Kantha Bopha hospitals established on the initiative of the Swiss paediatrician Dr Beat Richner.
At the end of 2011, there were 218 Swiss nationals living in Cambodia, of whom 69 have dual citizenship.
Switzerland recognised Cambodia in 1957, and the two countries have maintained diplomatic relations since 1963. Switzerland's Humanitarian Aid began operations in Cambodia in 1978, and subsequently became involved in development cooperation both directly and through international aid organisations. In 2003, Switzerland launched a trade promotion programme for Cambodia in connection with Cambodia's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Switzerland supported the commune council elections in 2002 and the parliamentary elections in 2003. The Swiss embassy also participated in the international observation of the commune council elections in 2007 and the parliamentary elections in 2008.
In addition, from 2001 to 2006, Switzerland took part in the restoration of the Banteay Srei Temple in the Angkor Wat temple complex.