B ULGARIAN Chargé d'Affaires Stoyan Davidov is anxiously awaiting a Ministry of
Interior report on the shooting of a Bulgarian national that will provide
"consistent" answers, identify the gunmen, apologize for the mistake and offer
Such a report would strengthen diplomatic ties betwen the
two countries that have - for economic reasons - been waning.
his Sofia chiefs are unlikely to easily accept an explanation that may put full
blame on the four Westerners - two Bulgarians, a Brit and an Australian - who
were wounded during two separate Aug 27 shootings by Second Prime Minister Hun
Sen's troops near the PM's residence.
"Our people want concrete,
consistent answers that it was a mistake and that somebody responsible must pay
for the mistake," Davidov said on Sept 5.
Compensation for the medical
costs of Dimitir (Mitko) Ivanov, 18, and Braiko Zahov, 17, must be paid because
neither family could afford to foot the bills, he said.
"If [such a
report is not forthcoming] Bulgaria must take some consultations that the
embassy cannot do its work or [that] Cambodia doesn't have an interest in
continuing normal relationships with Bulgaria," he said.
Bulgaria, Australia and Great Britain are awaiting the ministry's report, but
diplomatic protocol dictates that Foreign Minister Ung Huot is their only point
"We can wait and listen to diplomacy and words of apology...
it [the shooting] is not good and we understand that," Davidov said.
we want to know [answers] soon, maybe in two or three days," he said, which
would be around the date of Post publication. "To be economical with the truth
would be a second mistake, after the original mistake of the military
Police investigators spoken to by the Post, however, firmly put
the responsibility for the "accident" onto the victims. The Westerners were
drunk, and avoided "checkpoints" and warning shots, they said.
Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh was quoted as saying that people must
realize they cannot ride around Hun Sen's house - located on one corner of the
busy Independence Monument roundabout - late at night.
had Hun Sen indicating the blame lay with unnamed "terrorists"; while another
quoted Hun Sen's guards being edgy over reports that Ranariddh's troops were on
British Embassy spokesman Les Hartley said that his
embassy had also asked for money and a cell phone allegedly stolen from James
immediately after the shooting to be returned. Ivanov was also robbed while
"There is no point going heavy handed into this till we
have seen the report," Hartley said.
Hartley agreed that there were
differences between the verbal reports from the victims - "and of course we
believe what the victims are telling us" - and the police.
"What we don't
want is a snow job, saying it was only the Westerners fault and they were
drunk," he said.
Australian Ambassador Tony Kevin said Australian Iain
Howartson's letter of complaint had been forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. "We have asked for comment and that is about all I can say for
Davidov spoke of "young Bulgarian blood" having been "invested"
during his country's UNTAC contribution - UN records showed five Bulgarians died
of the 800 or so who served - "and now this... my people are saying maybe they
(Cambodians) don't like Bulgarians".
"Bulgarian people knew of this
history, and were awaiting news of this new shooting," he said. "I'm obliged...
I must answer something to my ministry."
The Cambodian government
representative in Sofia had been invited for questioning "but there is no
answers there, no answers here," he said.
"Before, our countries had a
good relationship. But now it has changed, there is stagnation. Bulgaria's
economy, changing to a free market one like Cambodia, is not good.
easy to organize some activity (if there is) investment, but (Bulgaria) doesn't
have that possibility," Davidov said.
He said the military involved in
the shooting must be identified and "say in an open voice, it is our
Compensation for medical costs was needed "because neither
family has much money... Braiko's father just died and his mother gets $100 a
month," he said.
Davidov said Ivanov was not drunk. "It was a
catastrophe, and I believe it was never the fault of these guys," he said of the
Cambodia had to find a solution otherwise "this kind of
situation could continue," he said.