Minister of National Defence Tea Banh on Monday criticised sanctions imposed on Cambodia by “superpowers and organisations” as unjust and as a political trend against the Kingdom.
Tea Banh’s criticisms came on Monday during the closing ceremony for training on surveying for UN-peacekeeping operations to enhance topographical skills at the Council of Ministers. Japanese Ministry of Defence director-general Yasunori Nishida was in attendance.
Recently the US House approved a bill called the “HR 526 Cambodia Democracy Act”, which aims to “promote free and fair elections, political freedom and human rights in Cambodia”.
Banh expressed regret that the “superpowers and organisations” do not support Cambodia’s development, but rather find ways to impose sanction through “baseless and false” allegations.
Cambodia is fulfilling all of its responsibilities, including dispatching UN peacekeeping forces, implementing democracy, respecting human rights and holding regular elections, said Banh
He said imposing sanctions will hinder the government’s efforts to develop the Kingdom.
“They do not acknowledge Cambodia’s efforts that have been made so far, but instead use their rights and power to find ways to impose sanctions like this or like that.
“They prevent that which can boost Cambodia’s growth. [The sanctions] seem to be based on their sentiments or whatever they want to do.”
Banh said the government is highly committed to preventing interference with internal affairs, provocation or racial discrimination which could lead to violence or a division of national solidarity under the banner of democracy and human rights to serve the interests of a handful of people, political individuals or foreigners who want to change the legitimate government.
“Some countries have vast resources and budgets but they do not use them to help countries which face difficulties.
“Instead they use it to hinder them, impose sanctions, blame and find a pretext to claim that there is no respect for human rights, to kill democracy and to affect the development of poor countries.”
Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that the “superpowers and organisations” joining hands is a political agenda to take advantage of their positions.
“We have been aware from the beginning that superpowers and organisations are always finding strategies to prevent Cambodia’s growth and achieve their political agenda,” he said.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the countries Banh has accused of barring Cambodia’s progress have contributed substantially to it since the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements in 1991.
There is no reason to believe that they would set out to hamper the Kingdom’s progress, he said.
“They are simply requesting Cambodia to restore democracy, to respect human rights and to be governed by the rule of law of a free society, all of which the minister himself, together with the country’s top leaders have pledged to do under the Paris Peace Agreements and the country’s constitution, which all of them have themselves signed and adopted,” he said.
US Embassy to Cambodia spokesperson Emily Zeeberg declined to comment on Banh’s remark.