Friday, 5 November 2010

Chinese pledges $1.6bn

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Bystanders wait to greet the arrival of China's top legislator, Wu Bangguo, who is on a four-day visit to Cambodia.

via CAAI

Thursday, 04 November 2010 21:12 Cheang Sokha

China has pledged to invest US$1.6 billion in infrastructure projects in the Kingdom over the next five years, as Wu Bangguo, China’s top legislator, continued his four-day visit to Cambodia.

The sum will be spread over 23 projects to be implemented by 2015, information minister Khieu Kanharith said following a meeting between Wu, the chairman of the standing committee of China’s national people’s congress, and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“China has lots of experience in infrastructure projects, so they will help Cambodia to develop roads, bridges, ports, railways and information technology,” Khieu Kanharith said.

China has also announced an additional $15 million in aid and has pledged to cancel $4.2 million in debt that Cambodia was due to repay this year, Khieu Kanharith said, in addition to signing 16 agreements related to hydropower and water resources. The Financial Times reported that the agreements included electricity deals involving Chinese state power producer Huadian.

Specific details of the projects were unavailable; Chinese embassy spokesman Qian Hai said he had no information on the issue.

The announcements came only days after United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concluded a two-day visit to the Kingdom in which she announced plans to dispatch a “team of experts” to resolve the long-standing issue of Cambodia’s Lon Nol-era debt to the US, which stands at roughly $445 million with interest.

Clinton warned Cambodia during her visit against becoming too dependent on Beijing, saying it was “smart for Cambodia to be friends with many countries”.

Khieu Kanharith said government cooperation with both China and the United States was governed by principles “without bias to any country”.

During a visit to the Kingdom last year, Chinese vice president Xi Jinping announced a package of $1.2 billion worth of grants and loans. The aid was unveiled just two days after Cambodia deported a group of 20 Uighur Chinese asylum seekers over American objections.

Cheam Yeap, chairman of the National Assembly’s Banking and Finance Committee, said the Kingdom had accrued more than $4 billion in debt to China since 1994.

During his meeting with Wu, Hun Sen pushed for China to import more rice from Cambodia and increase direct flights between the two countries, Khieu Kanharith said.


Cambodia maintains distance on Myanmar poll

Photo by: AFP
Pro-democracy activists burn the new Myanmar flag during a protest in New Delhi on Wednesday. Myanmar will hold its elections on November 7, which critics have described as a sham to cement military rule.

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Thursday, 04 November 2010 18:46 Sebastian Strangio

The Cambodian government has adopted a wait-and-see approach to the upcoming elections in Myanmar, amid mounting criticism of a process many observers see as a charade to legitimise military rule.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the government hoped the elections, scheduled for Sunday, would be carried out in a “democratic and transparent” manner.

“We don’t know about the other reactions, the comments from other countries, but the Cambodian government hopes that the elections will be democratic,” he said.

Critics have dismissed the vote as a sham process designed to entrench military rule, and say it cannot be credible while it excludes opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest.

According to electoral rules passed in March, a quarter of the seats in the country’s proposed parliament will be reserved for hand-picked military candidates, while opposition parties toil under a wide range of restrictions, including bans on ex-political prisoners running as candidates.

Koy Kuong said he could not comment on the plight of Suu Kyi, adding that the issue was Myanmar’s “internal affair”.

Cambodia’s hands-off attitude reflects that of ASEAN’s member states, most of whom have been reluctant to criticise the junta over its preparations for the poll.

Only the Philippines has come out in open opposition to the process, describing it at the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi last month as a “farce to democratic values of transparency”.

Opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua said despite ASEAN’s much-mooted policy of mutual non-interference, ASEAN nations should take a firm stance against polls she said had been gutted by the “elimination” of the political opposition in Myanmar.

“If Cambodia wants to be recognised as a democratic country, we must ask the government of Cambodia to point out the shortfalls of the preparations for the elections in Myanmar,” she said.

Sean Turnell, a Myanmar expert based at Macquarie University in Sydney, said the election was engineered to create “a fig leaf of international legitimacy” for a regime that has been a perennial irritation for ASEAN.

“For many years now ASEAN has become impatient with Burma,” he said, referring to the country by its former name. “A mask of democracy could allow them some wriggle room to at least get Burma off the table.”

While the electoral process was likely to be a “farce”, Turnell said, it might also be an opportunity that some Asian countries may use to expand business and trade with the pariah regime.

In a statement last month, Amnesty International said the credibility of ASEAN as a whole would be at stake during the Myanmar elections.

“Failure to address both past and present [rights] violations may prove critical for the future realisation of peoples’ rights in Myanmar and the international credibility of its neighbours,” the letter stated.

China takes on $591m Mobitel debt

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Thursday, 04 November 2010 21:16 Jeremy Mullins

The owner of mobile phone provider Mobitel yesterday signed what is believed to be Cambodia’s biggest refinancing deal.

The Royal Group inked a US$591 million agreement to refinance Mobitel’s debts and expand its services, with the Bank of China acting as its main lender.

Prime Minister Hun Sen witnessed the deal, along with Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China.

The deal will enable The Royal Group to refinance a $421 million loan used to buy out a majority stake in Mobitel from Luxembourg-based Millicom last year.

It follows months of speculation in the telecommunications sector over a possible sale of CamGSM, the 100 percent operator of Mobitel.

Mark Hanna, chief financial officer for The Royal Group, said yesterday the new loan deal was “much longer term” than the previous arrangement with ANZ, Standard Bank and Leopard Capital, among others.

Scott Lewis, managing partner at Leopard Capital – which owned $5 million of CamGSM’s debt – said the firm was being repaid on a timeline it expected.

“I am surprised at the announcement and the way it was repaid, but it was in line with our expectation that we would be repaid within a year or a year and a
half,” he said.

Securing refinancing some six months before the loan was due meant international banks would gain confidence in lending large amounts to firms in the Kingdom, according to Hanna, who did not detail interest rates.

“By us repackaging [the] existing loan ahead of time, this is great [for Cambodia],” he said.

The newly acquired financing would be put towards refinancing debt and funding Mobitel’s costs for capital expansion, he said.

Mobitel Chief Executive Officer David Spriggs said funds would be used to develop new services and expand network coverage in rural areas.

Thursday also saw the provider sign a five-year deal, worth $500 million, with China’s Huawei Technologies for the supply of equipment and services, building on an initial three-year $200 million deal in February.

Hanna said the company was “still reviewing options”, when asked if the refinancing meant Mobitel was no longer for sale.

Late last month, Aline Perrette, deputy commercial counsellor at the French embassy, told The Post that “the negotiations [between France Telecom and Mobitel] are still going on”.


Rice is right at trade fair

Photo by: Pha Lina

via CAAI

Thursday, 04 November 2010 21:04 Soeun Say

Indonesia is considering buying 300,000 tonnes of Cambodian rice, according to its ambassador.

Speaking at the Indonesian Trade Fair (pictured right) on Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island, Indonesian ambassador Soehardjono Sastromihardjo said that Cambodian rice imports were on the agenda.

“We want to import rice to our country. Now, we are looking for a lot [from Cambodia] – about 300,000 tonnes,” he said.

The ambassador hoped that trade between the two nations would also increase this year, perhaps by as much as 20 percent, and could be worth US$250 million in 2010. In addition, he said that Indonesia “wants to sell agricultural machinery to Cambodia, but now we are still in negotiations”.

‘Freedom Park’ inaugurated

Photo by: Sovan Philong
Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema leads a group of officials in a walk through Freedom Park after cutting the ribbon during its official inauguration.

via CAAI

Thursday, 04 November 2010 20:06 Vong Sokheng

About 1,000 people attended the opening ceremony for Phnom Penh’s controversial “Freedom Park” – five times more than would be allowed to gather in the park for a single rally under the Kingdom’s new demonstration law.

The Law on Peaceful Demonstration, passed last year, calls on all provinces and the capital to set aside an area for public gatherings in order to “ensure freedom of expression of Khmer citizens through peaceful assembly”. Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park opened in Daun Penh district, near Wat Phnom.

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema hailed the 1.2-hectare park as a sign of Cambodia’s democratic progress.

“During the Pol Pot regime, we could not protest and Phnom Penh turned into a ghost city, but now we have a Freedom Park”, he said.

“I would like to appeal to all Cambodian people in all provinces to gather in the parks for demonstrations. If protesters go to another area, we will have to take measures to ensure public order.”

According to the demonstration law, those wishing to gather on public property must file a request with the appropriate government authorities at least five days in advance, cite their purpose and include photocopies of national ID cards and home addresses for three representatives.

At “freedom parks”, as well as on private- or collectively-owned property, demonstrators may apply for a permit with the government just 12 hours in advance, or 36 hours in advance if they plan to gather on a weekend or holiday.

Demonstrations under these circumstances are limited to 200 people and allowed only between 6am and 6pm.

Police are not permitted to break up any approved gathering unless it turns violent.

Phnom Penh Municipal police chief Touch Naruth said local authorities would ensure that protesters without the documentation to hold rallies elsewhere would be moved to the Freedom Park.

“We will not take violent measures against the protesters if they go to another site. We will educate them and bring them back to the Freedom Park,” Touch Naruth said.

The demonstration law does not apply to rallies related to labour disputes and elections, nor to those organised “for the purpose of serving religion, art, culture, national customs and tradition, and educational dissemination activities for social interests”.

Nevertheless, the park is located away from major government buildings as well as Prime Minister Hun Sen’s home in Phnom Penh. Of the 17 protests broken up by police in the capital this year, 11 took place outside Hun Sen’s Sihanouk Boulevard home, according to local rights group Adhoc.

“There is no country in the world that has perfect democracy, but the park here shows the development of democracy in Cambodia,” Kep Chuktema said. “It is not like democracy in Europe.”

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said he hoped the space would promote civic discourse, but that he held reservations about it nonetheless.

“If freedom is being regulated, then it is not freedom at all,” he said.


New HIV risk

via CAAI

Thursday, 04 November 2010 19:41 Phak Seangly

A large population of young people coupled with more youths moving away from home early for economic reasons, could lead to a resurgence of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has warned.

In a press release accompanying the launch of the Most at Risk Young People Survey 2010 yesterday, the ministry’s Inter-departmental Committee on AIDS and Drugs noted that “40 percent of all new HIV infections globally are reported to be among young people aged 15-24”.

“While Cambodia is experiencing relative success in preventing new HIV infections, with around 35 percent of Cambodia’s population aged between 10 and 24 years, a potential resurgence of the epidemic among most-at-risk-populations, particularly involving young people, is raising new concern.”

According to the report, which surveyed 2,490 respondents aged 10 to 24 and deemed to be among those “most at risk”, a “key problem faced by young people is the need for economic migration from family and community.

“This exposes young people to unsafe behaviour related to drug use, alcohol and unsafe sexual practices that can lead to HIV infection.”

Pen Saroeun, director of the School Health Department at the ministry, said officials were concerned that an increase in irresponsible behaviour such as “drinking and taking drugs” was placing teenagers at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

“At the present time, we all see our teenagers are careless. This makes us worry and we conducted the survey to find out the reasons,” he said.

Ulrike Gilbert-Nandra, HIV specialist for UNICEF, said by email that HIV prevention methods need to be “better tailored to meet the needs of young people, including adolescents under the age of 18 years”.

“The last surveys on HIV prevalence related to injecting drug use, sex work or male-to-male sex indicate that many of these populations are young,” she said.

LTO Cambodia- A bit of excitement

A gift of books for Vietnamese-Cambodian friendship

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Vietnam offered Cambodia a collection of books to commemorate Vietnamese-Cambodian friendship at a ceremony in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on November 4.

The books contain images, essays, poems, and songs from many authors about the solidarity and traditional friendship between the two countries.

Vu Mao, Chairman of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association, emphasised that the books were written in both Vietnamese and Khmer to give young people a clearer view of their history.

Cambodia’s Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An praised the books, saying they demonstrate the sincere friendship between the two peoples. Cambodia’s government and people have not forgotten Vietnam’s assistance in liberating their country and establishing peace and stability there.

The books will be donated to several Cambodian schools and government agencies.

China Forgives $4 Million in Khmer Rouge-era Debt

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Thursday, 04 November 2010
via CAAI

Photo: AP
National People's Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo delivers a work report during a plenary session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, China.

China announced Thursday it would forgive Cambodia more than $4 million in debt owed by the government of the Khmer Rouge.

In an agreement signed between Prime Minister Hun Sen and China’s top legislator, Wu Bangguo, the two sides said Cambodia’s debt would be transferred into development projects, a government spokesman said.

The debt cancellations comes after the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who discussed the possibility of addressing more than $400 million owed by Cambodia to the US.

Thursday’s announcement signaled a second round by China, who in 2002 announced undisclosed debt cancellation estimated at the time to be between $60 million and $1 billion.

In 2005, the International Monetary Fund forgave $82 million in debt. Over the years, Russia, too, canceled $1.5 billion in Cambodian debt.

Hun Sen and other officials say they should not be held liable for the US loan, which was given to the beleaguered Lon Nol regime in the 1970s. That regime, which ousted then-prince Norodom Sihanouk in a coup, fell to the Khmer Rouge.

Clinton, China Visits Show Need for Neutrality: Analysts

Men Kimseng & Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Washington, DC Thursday, 04 November 2010
via CAAI

Photo: AP
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, earlier this week.

“In trade and other issues, I think Cambodia needs friendships with the West and the East.”

With senior-level visits from both the US and China this week, political analysts say Cambodia is rightly pursuing a neutral foreign policy between both powerful countries.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an official visit to Cambodia on Monday, followed by the arrival of Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

Both visits reflect growing attention on Cambodia in international politics, observers said this week.

“In trade and other issues, I think Cambodia needs friendships with the West and the East,” independent political analyst Chea Vannath told VOA Khmer following Clinton’s departure.

China has rapidly expanded its engagement with Cambodia through military and development aid, infrastructure projects and investment.

But Chea Vannath said Clinton’s visit also showed renewed US interest in the country and the region, following the policy of US President Barrack Obama.

Cambodia, one of the poorest nations in the world, has typically needed aid from both sides to supplement its annual budget and to develop.

But even though much of that aid is now coming from China, Cambodia still needs to balance its relationships with the West, said Chheang Vannarith, a fellow at the East-West Center and executive director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace.

“In my view, what is of interest to the country in foreign relationships is that we should make them in our economic interest, for development and poverty reduction,” he said. “So how do we use our foreign policy to serve the interests of economic development?”

Cambodia is now on the radar of economic powerhouses like the US and China, as both sides look to the Mekong Delta region for trade, Chheang Vannarith said.

Meanwhile, Clinton’s trip could also bring greater attention to human rights and democratic issues, he said. Clinton also signaled a willingness to creatively solve Cambodia’s war-era debt to the US, another possible boon to Cambodia.

She also received many facts on the ground, following meetings with rights groups, opposition figures, students and other groups with vested interests here.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said this week’s US and Chinese visits showed the government’s position to “stay in the middle.”

Opposition members, meanwhile, say they hope the Clinton visit will encourage a better human rights and democracy record here, where critics say basic freedoms are eroding.

Opposition supporters and rights activists have faced a wide range of challenges lately, including criminal charges and parliamentary obstructions. Meanwhile, the poor and powerless face land grabs, forced evictions and other abuses.

Clinton “assured all of us that the US won’t walk away from Cambodia,” Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua told VOA Khmer. “On the contrary, the US will continue to support the government, the opposition, democracy-lovers, and civil society to ensure balance and an equal role in democracy-building, human rights and the protection of justice.”

Courts, Self-Censorship Hurting Expression: Broadcaster

Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer
Washington, DC Thursday, 04 November 2010
via CAAI

Photo: by Men Kimseng
Pa Nguon Teang, director of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media on 'Hello VOA', on Monday.

“The courts have become the most popular tool for the government to use to pressure rights activists and journalists.”

Cambodia’s courts have emerged as a tool for the restriction of the freedom of expression, while rights activists and journalists alike have begun a practice of self-censorship, a prominent media director said Monday.

“The courts have become the most popular tool for the government to use to pressure rights activists and journalists,” Pa Nguon Teang, director of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, told “Hello VOA.”

Demonstrations are difficulty to get permission for and subsequently face heavy police crackdowns, he said.

“People can express their opinions on general issues, but when it comes to touching things that benefit the leaders, it is impossible,” he said. “This means a government intent to restrict people’s rights and intention to protest against the wrongdoing or benefits of authorities.”

He noted the recent police beating of a land rights protester during the visit last week of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as an example of an obvious repression of the right to free expression.

Pa Nguon Teang, who is also the director of Voice of Democracy radio, said he himself has had to walk a fine line to avoid prosecution.

“We seem to work under pressure,” he said. “We are cautious. But despite knowing we will face [court] challenges, we still do it. We always work in a way that ensures what we do does not violate the law. If they arrest us or abuse us, this then will surely reflect a violation of the law [and show that] we are just victims.”

Beer business booms in Cambodia

via CAAI

4 November 2010 -  Help It is believed that Cambodians drink less beer than people from any other country in southeast Asia. But, that statistic hasn't deterred the opening of a boutique brewery in the capital Phnom Penh.

The BBC's Guy De Launey spoke to Peter Brongers, CEO of Kingdom Breweries to find out why beer is a booming business.

Cambodia, China announce 1.6billion dollar deal: officials

Wu Bangguo (L), Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China toasts with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) during a signing ceremony at the Council of Ministers in Phnom Penh. China will inject 1.6 billion dollars into Cambodian infrastructure over five years, officials said.

via CAAI

AFP - Friday, November 5

PHNOM PENH (AFP) - – China will inject 1.6 billion dollars into Cambodian infrastructure over five years, officials said Thursday, just days after the US urged the country not to become too dependent on the Asian giant.

"Within the next five years, Cambodia and China will have 23 co-operation projects," government spokesman Khieu Kanharith told reporters after a meeting between China's top legislator Wu Bangguo and the Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen.

Hydropower dams, mining projects, bridges and railway links would be among the initiatives funded by China between 2010 and 2015, he added.

At their meeting in Phnom Pehn, Wu and Hun Sen witnessed the signing of 16 deals, including a loan agreement arranged by the Bank of China that will see Cambodia's largest mobile operator CamGSM borrow over 590 million dollars.

China also plans to help Cambodia build a new railway to neighbouring Vietnam, providing one of the last missing links for a pan-Asian network that would connect Singapore with China's Kunming by train, according to the spokesman.

He said Wu also promised to boost Chinese direct investment in the kingdom, which so far this year stands at 610 million dollars.

Wu's visit to Cambodia comes just days after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a high-profile appearance in the country and urged Cambodians not to become "too dependent" on China.

Khieu Kanharith said Wu hailed the "fast growing ties" between the two countries and told Hun Sen that "China does not want to seek power and become the owner of the region".

China -- a former patron of the Khmer Rouge regime, which oversaw the deaths of up to two million people in the 1970s -- is the country's top donor, according to Cambodia.

Nearly 400 Chinese companies have invested billions of dollars in Cambodia, including key infrastructure projects such as hydropower dams and coal power plants.

But China's involvement in the country has not been without controversy.

A December 2009 decision by Cambodia to deport 20 Uighurs, a largely Muslim minority group in western China -- despite their application for UN refugee status -- came ahead of a 1.2 billion dollar aid and loan package from Beijing.

China has rejected accusations that the generous package was linked to the move.

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press

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NA President Receives VCFA Delegation

Phnom Penh, November 4, 2010 AKP -- A delegation of Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association (VCFA) led by its president Mr. Vu Mao paid here on Nov. 3 a courtesy visit to Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, president of the National Assembly.

The aim of the visit of the Vietnamese delegation composed of VCFA members, journalists, investors, etc. is to learn more about economic potentiality and to study investment opportunities in Cambodia, Korm Kosal, head of cabinet of the national assembly president, told reporters after the meeting.

For his part, Samdech Heng Samrin highly valued and welcomed the visit of the Vietnamese delegation in Cambodia, through which he said the ties of friendship and solidarity between the two countries, peoples and parties (the Cambodian People’s Party and the Communist Party of Vietnam) will be further strengthened.

He further expressed his satisfaction with the development of the trade and economic exchanges between both neighboring countries and called for more cooperation in investment, tourism and economic fields. --AKP

(By CHEA Vannak)


Cambodian Prime Minister Censures Opposition's Alienism

Phnom Penh, November 4, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen sees the nature of the opposition's letter as seizing opportunity to make use of foreign opinion in Question and Answer Forum of the nation's National Assembly for the interest of the fugitive H.E. Sam Rainsy who has been on self-exile to avoid any responsibilities before existing law.

Seventeen members of the parliament from opposition Sam Rainsy Party have jointly made a request to the president of the National Assembly in order to get feedback from the Cambodian government on the so-called Resolution on Cambodia designed by European Parliament on Oct. 21.

“Resolution on Cambodia is but merely an opinion aimed at seeing Cambodia succeeding in implementing democracy, strengthening rule of law and social development,” Samdech Techo Hun Sen said in his response letter dated Nov. 2 addressed to National Assembly President Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin.

The letter stated “It is right that the expression made by the European Parliament is the right of a foreign institution. Nevertheless, the opinion may be beneficial to the people of Cambodia so long as the European Parliament has full-angle information about Cambodia with common sense reflecting the reality of evolution in Cambodia for the time being.”

This part of the letter is a feedback to the question as to what measure or decision the government should take in response to the request or the recommendation raised by the European Parliament.

The letter went on to say “The European Parliament ought to realize that the Cambodia opposition has thus far resorted to no culture of liberal democracy, not the same as what the opposition in European Union would do. The Cambodia opposition always uses foreign countries to decry the Cambodian government for their own advantage and ultra extremism.”

The Cambodian premier urged the European Parliament to help the Cambodia opposition change its extremist behavior and teach the latter how to play the opposition role in the system of parliament-oriented democracy in respect to the national constitution and laws of Cambodia.

“The people and the government of Cambodia, indeed, need the opposition groups that have capability to contest balanced politics in the framework of the National Assembly and have the same criteria as countries in Europe have,” the letter stressed.

He said H.E. Sam Rainsy has made the problem by himself when the latter lured and incited people to uproot demarcation posts at the border between Cambodia and Vietnam. “He himself committed the breach of law. So, he must be responsible before the law.”

The Cambodian premier affirmed that Cambodia's democratization has entered into a stage of consolidating rule of law and combat impunity with the purpose of ensuring public order, peace and tranquility for the entire people of Cambodia.

The 3-page letter of the Cambodian prime minister also responded to another question as to what stance the government should undertake to maintain aid from European Parliament and preserve reputation of Cambodia under the watch of the international community.

He said “As per the stance of the Cambodian government on European Union's aid, Cambodia as well as other countries always clings to strengthening confidence based on the principal of mutual interest, the right of self-determination of each country. Up to date, the Cambodian government has obtained lots of achievements in this context while the opposition seeks every way and means to hinder aid provided to Cambodia.”

“The international community including the European Union still continues and increases the quantity of their aid to Cambodia with every passing year while Cambodia enjoys more support.”

The letter concluded “Serving the people, the government never considers [its commitment] needs to tailor to foreign desire and never abandons national sovereignty and reliance and never thinks that Cambodia is under the watch of the international community.”

Samdech Techo Hun Sen called on the opposition to review its policy of ultra extremism [toward their own nation].

“I am the Prime Minister and my colleagues at the Council of Ministers firmly respect and always implement foreign policy and international cooperation on behalf and in the name of independent and sovereign state, and play the role of representing Cambodia on international arena with dignity and honor with other counterpart nations in accordance with national constitution and the provisions of oath of allegiance [we have taken],” Samdech Techo Hun Sen stressed. --AKP

(By OUK Kimseng)


PM Highlights Cambodian Women’s Role in the Country Development

Phnom Penh, November 4, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian women have played an important role in the country development and the royal government has always acknowledged their potentiality, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen said yesterday.

Now, not only we re-examine the women’s traditional role, but also we recognize their capacity, their knowledge, their skills as well as their potentialities, which constitute an important part in the country’s socio-economic development,” Samdech Techo Hun Sen addressed the closing ceremony of the forum on “Uplifting Women’s Leadership Role at the Sub-national Level”.

The Cambodian premier further expressed the royal government’s determination to enhance women’s participation in the public and political sectors.

In Cambodia, the role of women has been remarkably uplifted. The proportion of women elected to the National Assembly has seen an increase – 5 percent in 1993, 11 percent in 1998, 19 percent in 2003 and 22 percent in 2008, while the proportion of women holding positions as secretary of state and undersecretary of state has increased from 7 percent and 9.6 percent in 2003 to 7.7 percent and 14.6 percent in 2008 respectively.

The number of women who are municipal and provincial council members, city, district and commune council members has been also on the rise during this past decade.

According to a report, the Secretariat of Public Service has issued and disseminated instruction information on selecting government officials serving public institutions as women from 20 to 50 percent. As a result, the proportion of women government officials has increased from 32 percent in 2007 to 34 percent in mid 2009. --AKP

(By KHAN Sophirom)


German Ambassador Meets Cambodian DPMs

Phnom Penh, November 4, 2010 AKP -- Newly-appointed German Ambassador to Cambodia H.E. Wolfgang Moser was received here last Tuesday by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers H.E. Sok An.

The meeting mainly focused on the discussion on the prospect of Cambodian-German cooperation in order to further strengthen and enhance the relations between the two countries, according to the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers.

Both sides believed that the bilateral relations between Cambodia and Germany have come to a good stage which could allow the cooperation between the two countries to be further enhanced.

The German diplomat underlined that Germany would focus its cooperation on two main sectors, namely health care and land reform. He added that his colleagues and he would strive to bring about more profound level of cooperation between the two countries.

On the occasion, H.E. Sok An also updated H.E. Wolfgang Moser on the general situation in Cambodia by highlighting the political and economic stability in the country and increased number of foreign tourists to Cambodia, in particular to Siem Reap province. In addition, the Cambodian deputy prime minister informed the ambassador about the success of Cambodia in having the Temple of Preah Vihear inscribed in the World Heritage List, the success of Cambodia in being elected as a member of the World Heritage Committee, the success of the International Coordinating Committee on the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC), and the successes made in the framework of Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

H.E. Wolfgang Moser expressed his congratulation and appreciation to the Royal Government for these great successes. He would like the royal government to support the investment plan of the German company which will invest in rubber plantation in Cambodia.

In response, H.E. Sok An expressed his support for the rubber plantation investment plan by saying that Cambodia has potential in rubber plantation due to its richness in red soil which can provide high quality for rubber plantation, and the price of rubber on the international market is on the upward trend. Moreover, the deputy prime minister encouraged German investors to study the investment possibility in other fields as well.

The following day, the newly-appointed ambassador of Germany met with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H.E. Hor Namhong.

In the meeting, H.E. Hor Namhong welcomed the direct flight project from Germany to Cambodia and thanked the German people and government for their assistance to the development of Cambodia, particularly to mine-clearance, the ECCC and the development of rural infrastructure.

Germany pledged in June 2010 to provide over US$143 million to support development projects in Cambodia from 2010 to 2012. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)


Fifteen Stock Exchange Firms Licensed

Phnom Penh, November 4, 2010 AKP -- The Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia has decided to license 15 stock exchange firms to take part in the operation of stock market in Cambodia.

The licenses were handed over in Phnom Penh Tuesday by Keat Chhon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance.

Of the 15 licensed firms, seven are underwriters, two dealers, four brokers and two investment advisors.

Speaking at the license hand-over ceremony, Minh Ban Kosal, Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia, said that within the framework and vision of the financial sector development, the stock exchange firms are key players and an important infrastructure in the operation and development of stock exchange market in Cambodia.

He further said that the hand-over of the licenses reflected the achievement of an important step in putting the stock exchange market into operation and providing legal status to the stock exchange operators.

Keat Chhon advised the licensed firms to abide by laws, regulations and other requirements for the maintenance of order, market effectives, and especially the investors’ confidence to ensure the strength of stock exchange market system and the whole financial system of Cambodia. --AKP

(By Ravuth M.)


Cambodia Hosts Road Safety Seminar to Highlight Asian Road Safety Innovation

Phnom Penh, November 4, 2010 AKP -- More than 150 leading road safety experts, practitioners, business representatives and government officials from around the world are gathering in Siem Reap, Cambodia's Northern province on Wednesday for a particular topic on the Global Road Safety Partnership's (GRSP) Asia Road Safety Seminar, reported Chinese News Agency Xinhua.

In a statement released by Handicap International Belgium, it says it is a three-day key regional event in which participants will share strategies for reducing road-crash related injury and discuss the implementation of the United Nations' Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.

This year's event is being run with the support of the Government of Cambodia through its National Road Safety Committee (NRSC).

“Asia has a critical role to play in addressing the road safety crisis,” said Andrew Pearce, CEO of GRSP. “A region with diverse cultures, growing economies and rapid motorization, Asia is at the front-line of the road safety crisis, suffers heavily from a crisis that claims 1.3 million lives worldwide annually.”

“Fortunately, Asia has also become a hotbed for road safety innovation, where best practices have proven to make a difference in changing behavior and reducing road crash related death and injury,” he said.

And he added that “those attending the seminar will hear about numerous cases in which multi-sector road safety interventions in Asia have provided proven, life-saving results and inspired other efforts around the world.”

Some of the road safety interventions to be featured include: Programs to promote helmet use in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam that have led to quantifiable increases in helmet wearing, and in the case of Cambodia and Vietnam, they resulted in clear reductions in motorcycle related death and injury.

The speeches will cover road infrastructure projects in Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea and Bangladesh using the latest technology to identify safety issues and design road improvements, as well as the updates on projects in China that have improved safety pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

The GRSP Asia Road Safety Seminar has become a key platform for developing effective responses to this global, man-made humanitarian crisis.

Each year, 1.3 million people are killed on the world's roads and 90 percent of these fatalities are in developing countries.

This death toll is set to rise dramatically over the next decade unless action is taken. In March this year, the United Nations passed a resolution calling for a Decade of Action for Road Safety in 2011-2020.

Sharing speech at the opening of the seminar, Sou Phirin, governor of Siem Reap province said, “I would like to inform that death resulting from road accidents has worryingly increased day to day. Road accident has become a main subject of serious concern to the Royal Government of Cambodia, which has considered it as 2nd biggest catastrophe after AIDS.”

He recalled the report filed by Road Crash Victim Data System (RCVIS) which showed that over the last five years, the number of crashes and fatalities has increased by almost doubled.

“Almost 90 percent of road crash casualties are motorbike riders, pedestrians and bicyclists. As a result, road crashes in 2009 caused 1717 people died and had an enormous impact on the social and economic welfare of Cambodia with an estimated annual cost of US$248 million,” he was quoted as saying.

The seminar has been supported over the years by GRSP through its corporately funded Global Road Safety Initiative (GRSI) program, with funds provided by Ford, General Motors, Honda, Michelin, Renault, Shell and Toyota.

This year's event is also supported by the International Road Assessment Program (IRAP), FIA Foundation, Asian Development Bank, and Western Pacific Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO).

GRSP is a global partnership between business, civil society and governmental organizations collaborating to improve road safety conditions around the world.

It was initiated by the World Bank Group in 1999, and is a hosted program of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). GRSP undertakes a range of activities in low and middle income countries worldwide, ranging from program delivery and demonstration projects to capacity building and advocacy. --AKP


World Bank Assists Cambodia's Poor Affected by Typhoon Ketsana

Phnom Penh, November 4, 2010 AKP -- The World Bank approved a US$40 million grant and credit on Nov. 2 to help restore the losses and damage from typhoon Ketsana in Cambodia.

The Ketsana Emergency Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project (KERRP) aims to restore transportation and water and sanitation services to the affected people who are mostly poor and live in the rural areas, as well as to strengthen the capacity of the government in disaster preparedness and management, said a press release of the World Bank.

“Typhoon Ketsana devastated the lives and livelihood of tens of thousands of Cambodian people, particularly the poor. This project will help to restore the damaged infrastructure such as rural roads and provide basic services such as water and sanitation facilities, to the affected people in mostly rural areas,” said the World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia, Qimiao Fan.

The International Development Association – the division of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries – is providing a grant and an interest-free loan for the project: each valued at US$20 million. This four-year project will focus on four main components:

The rehabilitation, reconstruction and improvement of 920 km of existing rural roads, including bridges, culverts and drainage facilities. The construction of 1,400 community-based wells with hand pumps, and the building of 32,000 units of pour-flush latrines for the affected households.

Supporting Emergency Response by providing retroactive financial support for specific eligible expenditures for emergency response works.

Supporting project implementation agencies by providing technical assistance in project management such as detailed surveys, engineering designs, procurement, financial management, construction supervision, monitoring and evaluation, and community outreach.

Strengthening the capacity building of institutions by supporting the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) in increasing its capacity for disaster preparedness and management. This will be achieved through the development of national and provincial risk maps, emergency management information, and early warning systems, as well as the development of housing and building codes.

The World Bank's program in Cambodia is designed to provide support to the poorest segments of the population, within the overarching goal to improve governance, said the press release. --AKP

ខ្សាច់​ហូរ​លប់​ផ្ទះ​អ្នក​បឹងកក់ ; Boeung Kak Residents Claim Their Houses Submerged

Chairman of China's National People's Congress Wu Bangguo visiting Cambodia

Chairman of China's National People's Congress Wu Bangguo (L) is accompanied by Cambodia's National Assembly President Heng Samrin as he arrives at his welcoming ceremony at the national assembly building in Phnom Penh November 4, 2010. Wu is on a four-day official visit to Cambodia. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea 

Chairman of China's National People's Congress Wu Bangguo (L) is accompanied by Cambodia's National Assembly President Heng Samrin upon his arrival at his welcoming ceremony at the national assembly building in Phnom Penh November 4, 2010. Wu is on a four-day official visit to Cambodia. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea 

Chairman of China's National People's Congress Wu Bangguo (L) stands with Cambodia's National Assembly President Heng Samrin as the Chinese and Cambodian national anthems are played at the national assembly building in Phnom Penh November 4, 2010. Wu is on a four-day official visit to Cambodia. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea  

Chairman of China's National People's Congress Wu Bangguo (L) shakes hands with Cambodia's National Assembly President Heng Samrin during his welcoming ceremony at the national assembly building in Phnom Penh November 4, 2010. Wu is on a four-day official visit to Cambodia. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

French journalist speaks about trials of war criminals, attaining justice after genocide

via CAAI

David Michaels/The Daily Cardinal Thierry Cruvellier, the only full-time journalist to cover Rwanda’s International Criminal Tribunal, spoke Wednesday at the Union.

By By Alicia Goldfine
Published: Thursday, November 4, 2010

French journalist Thierry Cruvellier spoke in Memorial Union Wednesday about the punishment and trials of war criminals in countries such as Rwanda, Cambodia and Lebanon.

Cruvellier's lecture kicked off the Wisconsin Union Directorate's Human Rights Awareness Week.

Cruvellier was the only full-time foreign journalist to cover Rwanda's International Criminal Tribunal, which was formed to prosecute criminals after the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Cruvellier said justice is never easy to fight for, and every country finds its own political transition after mass genocide.

Rwanda has taken a unique approach by following mass murder with mass justice, which makes it is impossible for the government to punish all guilty parties, Cruvellier said.

"More than 1 million people have in one way or another been prosecuted, which is unbelievable and unprecedented and nowhere to be seen," Cruvellier said.

Cruvellier said statements tribunal courts make about their operations often stray from the truth.

"We have to look at these courts for what they do, not for what they claim," Cruvellier said.

According to Cruvellier, foreign political context behind tribunal courts inspires the way in which the court acts in Rwanda, Cambodia, Sierra Leone and other countries.

"The courts can hardly do something that the international community behind it is not willing to do," Cruvellier said.

Cruvellier said justice can best be attained through the combination of trials, reparations, commissions and removal of state members involved in crime, though the victims will never receive a satisfactory answer.

"What is important to keep in mind is that trial is only a small answer to mass murder," Cruvellier said. "It only achieves very little. It punishes, and that's all it does."