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VN, Cambodia discuss role of religious affairs

Vietnam recognises and upholds the moral and cultural values of belief and religion, and considers belief and religion a spiritual need of the people, and religious followers an integral part of the great national unity.

Head of the Vietnamese Government’s Committee for Religious Affairs Nguyen Thai Binh made this remark while receiving a delegation from the Cambodian Ministry of Cult and Religion, led by Minister Min Khin, in Hanoi on Dec. 16.

At the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on religious affairs in their respective countries as well as the implementation of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on bilateral cooperation, signed in Cambodia in December 2007.

Binh told his guests that Vietnam ’s 1992 Constitution affirms that belief and religion constitute of the people’s fundamental rights, and citizens have the right to freedom of belief and religion, following or not following a religion, while the State respects and ensures this right for citizens.

All religions are equal before the law and all acts that abuse belief and religion to incite violence, divide the people and nation, and organise superstitious activities are prohibited, the official added.

Regarding the performance of the MoU, Binh said the two sides have exchanged central-level delegations, provided documents related to the State management of religious affairs, and supported each other in organisation of UN Vesak Day in Vietnam .

However, he suggested the two sides organise working visits to each other’s countries for local delegations and hold bilateral symposiums in the future.

Minister Min Khin proposed that the two sides speed up the implementation of the MoU and expressed his wish to deepen relations between the two agencies.

The minister said the Cambodian State always cares for the people’s right to freedom of belief, which is prescribed in the country’s Constitution.

The same day, Minister Min Khin was received by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, who highly praised the results of cooperation between the Vietnamese Government’s Committee for Religious Affairs and the Cambodian Ministry of Cult and Religion.

Khiem said he hoped the two agencies would step up cooperative ties in religious affairs, thus strengthening the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia .

Min Khin thanked Vietnam for its valuable support and assistance towards the Cambodian people and expressed his belief that their neighbourliness would further develop for the interests of the two countries’ peoples.

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