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Hor Namhong addresses UN assembly

NEW YORK-Cambodia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hor

Namhong, addressed the United Nations General Assembly on September 30 to condemn

the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad and reaffirm Cambodia's commitment

to the fight against terrorism. It was the first time he had addressed the world

body.

Namhong said terror networks were regrouping worldwide to plot and kill more innocent

people. He invoked a statement by US President George W Bush saying that nations

which resolutely fight terror "will earn the favorable judgment of history".

Namhong offered the recent arrests of terror suspects in Cambodia as proof of the

nation's support for the US-led war on terrorism. At least four suspects have been

incarcerated for their alleged involvement in terrorist organizations.

In May, three alleged terrorists were arrested by the authorities at two Saudi-backed

Islamic schools-one of the suspects is Egyptian and two others are Thai nationals.

The Thai Muslims, Abdul Azi Jahki Chuiming, 35, and Muhammad Yalaudin Mading, 41,

and the Egyptian, Esam Mohammed Khidr Ali, 40, are being held in Pre Sar prison pending

an appeal hearing, said their lawyer, Kap Suopha, on October 6. But he said the police

investigation since their arrest four months ago had not produced any evidence implicating

them in terrorist acts.

In June, Cambodian police also arrested Sman Esma El, a 23-year-old local Muslim

teacher at a foreign-funded Islamic school near Phnom Penh. He was charged in municipal

court under Cambodia's anti-terror law on June 12. Investigating Judge Oun Bunna

indicated that other Cambodian members of Jemaah Islamiya (JI), the organization

accused of plotting the Bali bombing last October, may still be at large.

Government officials have also acknowledged that a top JI operative and suspected

member of al-Qaida, known as Hambali, lived in Phnom Penh for several months between

early 2002 and 2003.

Besides addressing terrorism, Namhong used the forum to advocate other issues on

the world stage. He pressed the UN to expand the 15-member Security Council, the

international body charged with authorizing force, to include more permanant members.

There are now only five.

"Without sufficient reform of this world body, the United Nations cannot be

an effective and efficient world organization to collectively respond to the complex

global challenges affecting humanity in this 21st century," he said.

He suggested that the Security Council include Japan, Germany and India as permanent

members because of their crucial role in international political and economic affairs

today.

Namhong also expressed Cambodia's regret for the death of Sergio Vieira de Mello,

the UN official supervising Iraq's reconstruction, who died after the UN Headquarters

in Baghdad was destroyed by a terrorist bomb on August 19. Vieira de Mello served

as UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Cambodia with UNTAC between 1992 and 1993.

Following his appearance at the UN, Namhong joined Prime Minister Hun Sen for the

ninth ASEAN Summit on October 7, 8 and 9 in Bali, Indonesia.

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