A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Cambodia slams EU Parliament for "aid review" threats

Source: Xinhua   2016-06-13 

PHNOM PENH, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Monday lashed out at the European Parliament for adopting a resolution last week with threats of "aid review" unless the Cambodian government revokes arrest warrants for opposition leader Sam Rainsy and releases opposition members and five human rights activists.

"The Royal government of Cambodia is astonished to have read a document adopted by the European Parliament which based on so many false accounts. As we learn from the first world, a judgment must be based on proved facts and thorough investigations and not on biased sources, rumors and politically manipulated information," said a Foreign Ministry's statement.

Sam Rainsy, leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was convicted of defamation in 2011. He has lived in self exile since last November to avoid a two-year prison term.

The statement said that two opposition politicians -- a senator and a lawmaker -- had been recently arrested for forgery and incitement to violence.

For the case of CNRP deputy leader Kem Sokha, the statement said Kem Sokha was charged with "refusal to appear" in court over a prostitution case involving his alleged mistress.

"The refusal to appear in court as summoned by prosecutor is publishable in all democratic countries, especially in those of the European Union. So does it in Cambodia," it said.

For the five human rights workers, who were arrested in April over Kem Sokha's sex scandal case, the statement said they committed a crime by suborning a witness.

"As a sovereign state, the Kingdom of Cambodia is not under trusteeship of foreign institutions," the statement said. "The Royal government of Cambodia does not accept interference in its domestic affairs."

"We regret that the European Parliament didn't appreciate what the Royal government of Cambodia has endeavored in upholding the rule of law and preserving peace and stability which Cambodian people very much need for their national harmony, integrity and prosperity," it added.

EU has committed to provide 465 million U.S. dollars in aid to Cambodia through 2020.

Speaking at a university graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh on Monday, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said he was not worried over any cut in foreign aid, saying that such move would affect only foreign-paid non-governmental organization (NGO) workers, not his government.

The prime minister also denied that the charges against opposition politicians and human rights activists are politically motivated saying they had committed crimes.

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