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

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release