Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Foreign Ministry hits out at US visa restrictions on Cambodian officials

Foreign Ministry hits out at US visa restrictions on Cambodian officials

US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks in the press briefing room at the Department of State in Washington, DC.
US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks in the press briefing room at the Department of State in Washington, DC. Alex Wroblewski/AFP

Foreign Ministry hits out at US visa restrictions on Cambodian officials

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday condemned the US State Department’s announcement that visa restrictions will be imposed on Cambodian officials involved in “undermining democracy”.

In a statement issued a day after the decision was announced, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was “utterly dismayed” by the additional visa restrictions. “Cambodia noted with deep regret that the latest decision made by the US Department of State did not take into consideration Cambodia’s recent political development from legal and factual dimensions, and that the move was politically motivated with prejudice and double standards,” the statement reads.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert cited the dissolution of the CNRP and the imprisonment of its leader, Kem Sokha, as well as restrictions on civil society and independent media, as reasons for the visa restrictions. But the Foreign Affairs Ministry dismissed the allegations on Friday.

“[The] legal measures against a handful of law-breaking individuals, NGOs and media outlets should not be construed as an attempt to undermine Cambodia’s democratic space,” the statement reads.

The US Embassy declined to comment yesterday.

Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy yesterday said the visa restrictions had “hit the target”.

“Hun Sen, who has never cared about Cambodia’s interests and the sufferings of the Cambodian people, is now starting to pay attention to US sanctions only because they hurt the personal interests of individuals associated with his regime,” he wrote.

In a Facebook post, meanwhile, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan accused Rainsy of planning to “organise a civil war in Cambodia”, and using “Khmer blood to be the red carpet to stage his own power”.

Rainsy could not be reached for a response, but the opposition has long denied ruling party claims it fomented unrest.

Additional reporting by Ben Sokhean

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The