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Cambodia Announced that the United States of America Suspends Military Aid, but Said the Uighurs’ Case Should Not Be Taken as Excuse

By: The Mirror Posted: April-05-2010 in
The Mirror

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: Cambodia is not surprised about the announcement of the US Department of State to suspend military aid for Cambodia. In the afternoon of 1 April 2010, during the daily press conference of the US Department of State in Washington, the spokesperson, Mr. Philip Crowley, announced the decision of the United States of America to suspend donating about 200 military trucks and trailers. According to Mr. Philip Crowley, the suspension was decided because Cambodia deported Uighurs, who had sought asylum in Cambodia, to the Beijing authorities in December 2009.

“The Spokesperson of the Cambodian government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, said, ‘This aid suspension is not a problem. If they grant it, we say thanks for it. Anyway, the trucks are not new. They are used vehicles to be provided to others, to clean out their storage. But the United States of America should not take the case of the Uighurs as an excuse to put blame on Cambodia.’ He said so to journalists in the afternoon of 2 April 2010.

“The spokesperson of the government blamed the United States of America and the UNHCR for their slow work which had not led to any results to take the Uighurs out of Cambodia to a third country – and now they put the blame on the Cambodian government! Mr. Khieu Kanharith recalled, ‘When the Uighurs were hiding in Cambodia for over one month, the Cambodian authorities did not know this. The Chinese government did not know it either. But during this period, even the UN human rights office and some US organizations could not determine whether those Uighurs were political refugees or who they were. When they saw they could not handle this, they decided to announce it to journalists.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, considered the US statement as their own decision, and an affair of the United States of America. Mr. Koy Kuong added, ‘Cambodia worked based on its rights and integrity.’

“During a previous meeting between Mr. Scott Marciel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, the Minister had explained to him that the expulsion of 20 Uighurs from Cambodia was just implemented according to Cambodian immigration law.

Note:

“A State Department official tells The Cable that just before the Cambodian government sent the ethnic Uighurs back to China, where they face imprisonment or worse, there were a flurry of diplomatic efforts to try to convince the Cambodians to hold off. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even phoned Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to urge him to rethink the decision, the official said, but to no avail.”

[source]

“The deportation of 20 Uighurs from Cambodia in December 2009 is a sensitive case for the US administration. The US Department of State reacted since the beginning and used serious words. Washington even said that the decision of Cambodia to deport the Uighurs to the Beijing authorities will affect the relations between the United States of America and Cambodia.

“The spokesperson of the Cambodian government claimed that there is still no visible effect on the Cambodian-US ties due to the suspension of military aid.

“The spokesperson of the US Embassy in Cambodia, Mr. John Johnson, said that the latest announcement by the US Department of States is only related to military assistance. It is a suspension without a specific time-line. He said, ‘This is a special and worrying case. But the United States of America will continue to cooperate with Cambodia in other fields.’ According to this spokesperson, the US military aid provided to Cambodia since 2006 amounted to about US$6 million.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5167, 3.4.2010

This article was first published by The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658 - Saturday, 3.4.2010
Have a look at the last editorial - you can access it directly from the main page of The Mirror.

Norbert Klein is the Editor of The Mirror – The Mirror is a daily comprehensive summary and translation of the major Khmer language press - More about The Mirror

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