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UN official discusses KRT funds, progress

PATRICIA O’Brien, a UN under-secretary general who reports directly to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, met Monday with Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, praising the progress of the Khmer Rouge tribunal and also discussing the budgetary shortfalls it faces, court officials said.

Dim Sovannarom, a press officer for the tribunal, said a lack of funding for operations by the court’s national staff would force those officials to defer some of their salaries for this month.

“The national [side] doesn’t have regular salary to give to the staff for this April, so national side salaries will be paid only half,” Dim Sovannarom said, adding: “[O’Brien] said during the meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Sok An that she will support and do her best to talk with the donors to support the ECCC.”

In a statement released on Monday, the court said O’Brien and Sok An had confirmed “their strong support for the ECCC and their intention to continue to work closely together in a spirit of mutual cooperation and understanding to ensure that the legacy of the Court is preserved”.

With the court’s budget for 2010 and 2011 having been approved last week, O’Brien and Sok An “call upon the international community to come forward with contributions and pledges to both the national and the international components of the Court”, the statement said.

A meeting between donors and court officials has been scheduled for Thursday, Dim Sovannarom said, with the aim of resolving the financial shortfall facing the national staff.

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