Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Government Affirms Good Relation With United States

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, Minister for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has affirmed that the diplomatic relation and cooperation between Cambodia and the United States of America has been progressing. America has been providing aid to help every field in Cambodia but a major problem is that the Royal Government of Cambodia asked for America to cancel a debt, owed by the Government led by Lon Nol during 1970s.

The Deputy Prime Minister Namhong made his statements while arriving at the Phnom Penh International Airport on October 1, returning from the participation of the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States, where he met with Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs.

During a meeting with Her Excellency Hillary Clinton, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong said that the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised and applauded the development and the growth of democracy and human rights in Cambodia especially the increasingly good relations between Cambodian government and the United States of America.

Namhong raised topics like Cambodia’s gratitude to the United States of America for their provided aid concerning social affairs, the Trade Act for Generalized System of Preferences (GSP); and the strengthening of the relationship between ASEAN and the United States as well as Cambodia’s debt owed to the United States acquired during the Lon Nol regime during his meeting with Hillary Clinton.

According to Cheam Yeap, Lawmaker and Chairman of the Committee of Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit in the National Assembly of Cambodia, the debt was over 100 million USD in 1972, and now the total amount increased over US$300 million included the interests.

“I have talked about Cambodia’s debt owed to the United States during the Lon Nol regime. I told Her Excellency Hillary Clinton that this debt owed was made by the Lon Nol’s government which is a government established through a coup d’état on the 18th of March 1970,” he told reporters while arrival at the airport.

He continued to say that this money owed was used for buying of weapon materials in Lon Nol regime in order to set up the war only. “Therefore, I ask the American government through Her Excellency Hillary Clinton to eliminate this debt for Cambodia. I also requested that if the American government can not do so, the US should take a big part of these moneys to use for the developmental assistances in Cambodia in future.”


The Deputy Prime Minister continued to say that during this meeting, Her Excellency Hillary Clinton has also talked about her meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Tea Ban, Minister of National Defense. She praised the good relations between the Cambodian and the American military. He added that Madam Clinton mentioned that the U.S. will help Cambodian military in providing training for United Nations Peace Keeping Forces in the future.

Relating to American humanitarian assistance, Namhong said so far, the United States of America has been providing a lot of financial and humanitarian assistance for Cambodia. Recently, the US has also donated over US$6 million to Cambodia. He added that most of the American financial assistance was donated for mine clearing activities, military training, health, education, and other social affairs in Cambodia.

“I noted that so far, the relations and diplomatic tie between Cambodia and USA has been improved and strengthened in all sectors, military as well as civilian,” he said. “With this cooperation, I am optimistic that the relation between the two countries will be more improved and strengthened even further and the US will continue to provide more aid to Cambodia in future.”

Relating to the practice of democracy, The Deputy Prime Minister stated that there are over 100 NGOs working with human rights to help the Cambodian government in promoting the development and democracy in Cambodia. He added that the growth of these local and international NGOs’ activities have shown that Cambodia now have a full freedom and democracy. Cambodia now is practicing the doctrine of democracy and rule of law.

Besides talking about Cambodian issues, he has also addressed Her Excellency Hillary Clinton about Myanmar’s economic sanction which has recently put by the US recent year and the Mekong River Developments in future, according to Namhong.

He added that concerning the Myanmar’s economic sanction, Madam Hillary Clinton said that the U.S now is considering to release or reduce the economic sanction on the Myanmar government. She added that the U.S now is implementing its integration policy with Myanmar in order to work and improve the implementation of democracy and human rights in Myanmar in the future.


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