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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Officials vow to fight terrorism at seminar on extremism

Officials vow to fight terrorism at seminar on extremism

Senior government and police officials affirm their commitment to

preventing domestic attacks and helping in the global 'war on terror'

RECENT CONVICTS

Five Khmer Kampuchea Krom men were sentenced to between 15 and 17 years in prison in connection with an attempt to bomb the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship Monument on July 29, 2007.

THE Cambodian government is determined to enforce its new anti-terrorism law in cooperation with other regional countries,   government officials said at a seminar on combating extremism held Monday.

"Anti-terrorism requires the collaboration from all countries in the region," said Deputy Prime Minister Sok An at the opening of the two-day seminar at Phnom Penh's InterContinental Hotel.

"Cambodia will not step back in regard to anti-terrorism," he added.

Anti-terrorism legislation  adopted by the National Assembly in July 2007 with legal assistance from the Australian government has linked Cambodia into the international community's efforts against extremism,  Sok An said.

Officials from the Ministry of Justice, police and the National Committee for Anti-terrorism received  additional training in Australia in May, Sok An added.

More than 50 officials from ministries with anti-terror duties were called to Monday's seminar to improve their knowledge of extremist movements.

...ANTI-TERRORISM REQUIRES COLLABORATION FROM ALL COUNTRIES IN THE REGION.

"It is necessary to have laws on anti-terrorism as it links Cambodia to other countries in a fight against terrorism," said Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak, adding that  terrorism is both a regional and global issue.
Cambodian terrorism

Cambodia is not a stranger to terrorist attacks, Khieu Sopheak said, adding that the country experienced a bloody coup attempt in November 2000 against Prime Minister Hun Sen's government led by Chhun Yasith, leader of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters.

Chhun Yasith, a US citizen, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a US court in April.

Om Yentieng, who is also a member of the National Committee for Anti-terrorism, said that Cambodia used to be a haven for terrorist groups.

"We have a duty to prevent terrorism from happening in Cambodia," Om Yentieng said.

Others, including foreign diplomats, have raised concerns over the alleged presence of radical groups in Cambodia.

Australian Ambassador Margaret Adamson said that Cambodia is the first Asean country to adopt anti-terrorism legislation.

"Australia welcomed this determination," Adamson said. "Australia stands with Cambodia on the issue of anti-terrorism."

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