Foreign Secretary of State Ouch Borith Receives a U.S. Senior Official

AKP Phnom Penh, Cambodian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Ouch Borith held talks with visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Mr. W. Patrick Murphy, at the ministry office in Phnom Penh yesterday.

The more-than-one-hour meeting touched on various topics, including the current political situation in Cambodia, cooperation in searching for the U.S. fallen soldiers' remains, repatriation of Cambodians convicted by U.S. law, and U.S. visa restrictions to Cambodian officials and so on.

According to H.E. Ouch Borith, regarding the current political situation in Cambodia, he reiterated that next year's national election will not be a single party race. What happened to the opposition party has been created by itself and what the government has done is in accordance with the law and in order to defend the national sovereignty, peace, stability and security, he stressed.

In response to the U.S.' request to continue the cooperation in searching for the remains of U.S. soldiers who lost their lives during the Indochina war, H.E. Ouch Borith said Cambodia began this search in the 1980s based on the humanitarian spirit, but the cooperation has recently suspended due to the U.S. visa restrictions to Cambodian senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If the restrictions are lifted, he added, the cooperation will be resumed.

For the repatriation of convicted Cambodians who are permanent residents in the U.S. and those living illegally in the U.S. after 1994, Cambodia will accept them all, but suggested the U.S. side to assist them in adapting with their new lives in Cambodia, he affirmed.

Being asked by reporters about the EU's announcement yesterday to suspend its assistance to the National Election Committee, the Cambodian secretary of state said it is the EU's right to do so, and without the EU, there are still Japan, China, Russia and other countries that are willing to help Cambodia. The most important thing is to do our best to make sure that the election is conducted in a just and transparent manner and in a good atmosphere, he underlined.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press