UNITED States Congressman Eni Faleomavaega raised concerns over Cambodia’s 1970s debt when he met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in American Samoa at the close of her 12-day Asian tour on Monday, Australian media reported yesterday.
“I did mention to her about the situation in Cambodia. We’ve had this ongoing debt obligation that Cambodia has accumulated for some 30 years now, but basically, we didn’t have a chance to talk about all the issues,” Faleomavaega told Radio Australia.
As a delegate representing American Samoa in the House of Representatives, Faleomavaega had no vote in Congress. But that hadn’t stopped him from pressing the government on the decades-old issue. As chair of a House subcommittee, he convened a hearing on September 30 on Cambodia’s debt, which stood at US$445 million at the end of last year. At the time, he called upon the US to “forgive or recycle Cambodia’s debt”.
While in Cambodia last week, Clinton announced that the US planned to send a “team of experts” to resolve the debt issue.
“We have agreed that the United States will send a team of experts as soon as possible to resume discussions over ways to settle this debt,” she told reporters. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY THOMAS MILLER