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

  • Quarantine still a must for all arrivals, in next Covid chapter

    Since early May, an average of five to 10 Cambodian people have died from Covid-19 a day with many others testing positive amid the ongoing community outbreak. At the same time, however, hundreds of patients also recovered a day. The first Covid-19 case in Cambodia was

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • First commercial gold mine online

    Australian miner Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd on June 21 began the commercial operation of its $120 million Okvau Gold Project in the northeastern province of Mondulkiri, becoming the Kingdom’s first gold producer. Located in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district, the

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • Transport minister requests free trial of Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway

    The Ministry of Public Works and Transport held discussions with the company constructing the expressway from Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk province to allow drivers to test the road free of charge before an official toll is set. While inspecting the progress of its construction