Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - All smiles for American delegations

All smiles for American delegations

All smiles for American delegations

front.jpg
front.jpg

US Congressman Dick Gephardt arrives in Phnom Penh on Jan 12.

Twin US congressional and military delegations made whirlwind trips to Cambodia from

Jan 12-15, the most significant indication to date of a possible thaw in official

US-Cambodian relations that have prevented direct aid to the Cambodian Government

since the 1997 coup.

A ten-member congressional mission led by Democrat House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt

that was in the Kingdom between Jan 12-15 intersected with a Jan 12-14 visit by Admiral

Dennis Blair, Commander-in-Chief of the US military's Pacific theater forces.

Blair, who came to Cambodia as part of a regional tour that included Laos and a planned

but later canceled visit to Vietnam, led a press junket to observe US MIA search

teams in action on the island of Koh Tang on Dec 13. On Jan 14 Blair flew to Siem

Reap where he attended a CMAC mine clearance demonstration and made a tour of the

Angkor temple complex before leaving the country later the same day.

Blair indicated that Cambodia would benefit from increased US military assistance,

but gave no details.

After meetings with both Prime Minister Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy Party legislator Tioluong

Samaura, Gephardt expressed satisfaction with the Cambodian government's moves to

form a Khmer Rouge tribunal and offered the possibility of increased US assistance

to Cambodia.

"We are prepared to go back and tell our [congressional] colleagues about the

progress we have seen here and I hope that the relationship can be improved,"

Gephardt told reporters at an airport press conference prior to his departure on

Jan 15.

However Gephardt's emphasis that future US aid be channeled through NGOs indicated

the US is not yet prepared to life the suspension on direct bilateral aid to the

Cambodian government imposed after the July 1997 coup.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all