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German government announces freeze in KR tribunal funding

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090203_02.jpg

Funds held back until corruption allegations addressed; Berlin delegation also stresses democratic role of Cambodian opposition.

Photo by:
HENG CHIVOAN

Members of a German parliamentary delegation, led by lower house Vice President Wolfgang Thierse, greet CPP, Funcinpec and NRP parliamentarians Monday at the National Assembly.

A DELEGATION from the German parliament, or Bundestag, said Monday that the German government will not donate more cash to the Khmer Rouge tribunal until lingering allegations of corruption are resolved.

"We will continue supporting the KRT provided corruption allegations are cleared up," said lower house Vice President Wolfgang Thierse, who led the delegation that met with representatives from the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

Earlier Monday, the delegation met with all the Kingdom's major political parties. The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), its junior coalition partner Funcinpec and the beleaguered Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) met the delegation at the National Assembly.

In a late change to the announced schedule, the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) - composed of the Sam Rainsy and Human Rights parties - declined to attend the National Assembly meeting and met with Thierse late Monday, a move Thierse described as "fair" at a press conference.

Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) Deputy Secretary General Mu Sochua said the National Assembly was an inappropritate place for her party to meet with Thierse.

"We are not part of any parliamentary commissions [at the assembly], so we would rather not be involved with that meeting," she said.

Human Rights Party (HRP) President Kem Sokha said that the CPP had invited his party to attend a meeting at the National Assembly but the HRP wanted their own separate meeting.

"There was going to be no chance for discussion," he said. "The government and opposition parties should have separate meetings."

Thierse said that during his meeting with the prime minister Monday, he raised the importance of opposition in a democracy, especially in parliament, citing the example of the German house, where the opposition controls key commissions, meaning all parties have to work together.

The delegation will stay in Cambodia for five days, flying to Siem Reap today where they will meet with members of the German Apsara Conservation Project, the group working to restore Angkor Wat.

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