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Government agrees to accept deportees from the US

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Interior Minister Sar Kheng (right) meets with US Ambassador William Heidt (left) yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Government agrees to accept deportees from the US

Cambodia has agreed to reaccept deportees from the US but is requesting a delay for those who have serious illnesses, according to a Ministry of Interior official who briefed reporters on a wide-ranging meeting between Interior Minister Sar Kheng and US Ambassador William Heidt yesterday.

Phat Sophanith, cabinet officer to Kheng, told reporters after the meeting that Kheng and Heidt discussed deportees, child sex offenders and the political situation in Cambodia.

Cambodia’s refusal to take deportees resulted in the US in August banning certain Foreign Affairs Ministry officials from travelling to the US. Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said earlier this month that Cambodia is prepared to reopen the pipeline, but the US has been tight-lipped about the agreement.

US Embassy spokesman David Josar declined to comment yesterday beyond confirming Heidt and Kheng had “a good meeting on a variety of topics”.

Sophanith said the minister and ambassador also discussed the crackdown on opposition voices in the Kingdom but said Kheng reiterated the government is merely implementing the law.

Heidt also thanked the government for its help preventing 13 child sex abusers from entering Cambodia, Sophanith said.

“Cambodia will continue to cooperate with US agencies like the FBI and relevant institutions to combat human trafficking, cross-border crimes, and child abuse,” Sophanith said.

Additional reporting by Daphne Chen

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