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GMS transport forum opens in Cambodia (VNA)
VNA (4 Aug 2004 -- 10:57(GMT+7))

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA: The eighth Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Transport Forum opened in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

Participating at the two-day forum are representatives from six GMS member countries and international organisations, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank (WB), the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Senior Cambodian Minister for GMS cooperation Khy Tainglim said at the 2002 forum, the first of its kind, the GMS leaders adopted a framework agreement encompassing 11 programmes of top priority. Of these programmes were projects to build three economic corridors.

Additionally, the GMS countries are undertaking other projects to build a Singapore – Kunming railway system, develop seaports in Viet Nam and Cambodia, and implement an agreement on cross-border transportation and one-stop customs procedures.

Khy said he hoped that the PMs of Viet Nam and Cambodia will inaugurate the Phnom Penh – Ho Chi Minh City section, which is located in the North – South Economic Corridor, in early 2005. Cambodia will work closely with donors to complete the Bangkok – Phnom Penh – Ho Chi Minh City route by 2007 so that visitors will take only one day to travel from Bangkok to HCM City on the route.

At the forum, participants will focus on reviewing the GMS’s programmes in the transport sector, including the North-South Economic Corridor, the East-West Economic Corridor, the study on the Southern Economic Corridor, and updating the GMS development matrix.

The six countries will also report on their progress on the implementation of the GMS programmes and progress on the negotiation and implementation of annexes and protocols of the GMS cross-border transport agreement.

At the forum, the Vietnamese delegation informed international donors of progress on the implementation of the North – South Economic Corridor’s Kunming – Hai Phong road project and Ba Vet – Ho Chi Minh City road project, the East – West Economic Corridor’s National Highway No. 9 construction project.

It also provided international donors with 20 projects to upgrade roads and seaports, of which 14 projects will be carried out in central Viet Nam and the Central Highlands.

The forum is expected to close on Aug. 4.

The GMS groups Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, and the Chinese province of Yunnan.

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Secretariat: The World Bank & Asian Development Bank