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American embassy advisory ‘not reality’

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A motorbike passes the US Embassy in April in Phnom Penh. post staff

American embassy advisory ‘not reality’

The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and several government officials claimed that the US Embassy’s advisory to its citizens to be cautious during the upcoming elections is driven by political motivation and does not reflect the actual situation in the Kingdom.

The criticism comes in the wake of an embassy announcement published on its website on Tuesday.

The announcement said that the national elections on July 29 might lead to political gatherings, protests or security force mobilisations and US citizens should avoid participating in such activities and avoid trips to provinces.

CPP spokesperson Sok Eysan said that the announcement did not reflect the country’s “stability” but instead painted a grim picture that elections in Cambodia are not safe.

“In reality, people live in peace and there is political stability, and no one worries as much as the US Embassy does. Second, it is a political gesture with indirect intimidation."

“It is ineffective and the important thing is the real situation [in the country]. It says the opposite of reality."

“And no one at the embassy believes in [the statement],” he added.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said that it is a diplomatic responsibility of each country to protect its citizens and it is typical of the US Embassy to appeal to its citizens to be cautious.

“It is an administrative duty of the embassy and it is done every time, but in fact nothing has happened in Cambodia,” he said.

Ministry of Interior spokesperson Khieu Sopheak said the authorities will ensure the safety of all people, whether they are American or French, as is their duty.

“But if there is any information [of security threats], please share it with the Cambodian authorities,” he said.

However, Sam Kuntheamy, the director at the Neutral and Impartial Committee for tial Committee for Free And Fair Elections (Nicfec), said the embassy’s appeal does not have any underlying political tone and it was merely to inform its citizens about safety and security.

“It shows that it pays attention to its people and does not have political motive. It is just for the safety of its citizens living in Cambodia."

“We think that nothing will happen in the upcoming elections,” he added.

Earlier, Kiet Chantharith, spokesman of the National Police, said that 60,000 personnel from various forces are assigned to maintain security and public order during the election.

The joint forces consist of the National Police, Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and military police, and includes the security guards.

Embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said in an email to The Post that it did not have further comment to make.

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