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End of road for ambassador

US Ambassador Carol Rodley speaks at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, in July of 2010. Photo by: Sovan Philong

THE United States embassy in Phnom Penh confirmed yesterday that Ambassador Carol Rodley will be leaving her position at the end of the month.

Her departure ends a term in which she openly spoke against corruption and saw the release of hundreds of diplomatic cables as part of the WikiLeaks saga.

In an email to the Post yesterday, embassy spokesman Sean McIntosh said that Rodley had “completed her mission in Cambodia”.

The embassy’s announcement comes nearly three years after Rodley began her term on October 24, 2008. McIntosh said that Rodley “will be making private farewell calls on a number of senior Cambodian officials prior to her departure”.

Yesterday morning, Rodley met with Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

During the closed-door meeting in Phnom Penh, Rodley praised the improved relations and deep understanding between the two countries, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong.

Rodley also reiterated American commitment to the region, he added.

Despite this show of good will, Rodley has attracted some controversy throughout her tenure, being at times outspoken of the Cambodian government, a rarity for most ambassadors in the Kingdom.

She has been particularly critical of corruption, which, in a 2009 diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, she said “stares Cambodians in the face”.

That same year, during a speech at an anti-corruption concert in Phnom Penh, Rodley made headlines by saying that Cambodia was losing up to US$500 million each year due to graft, a claim that drew government ire.

“It is very much regrettable that a representative of a foreign government has made such an allegation based on a biased assessment and without any proof,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement at the time.

Leaders of local American organisations yesterday spoke highly of the Ambassador’s time in the Kingdom.

“She’s been open and accessible. She hasn’t just been an ambassador for us, she’s been an ambassador for everyone,” said Democrats Abroad Cambodian Chairman Wayne Weightman.  

“She will be missed,” he added.

A successor to Rodley has not yet been named, McIntosh said.

US ambassadors are nominated by the President and are subsequently confirmed by the Senate after hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.



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