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Cambodia suspends US military programs

joint US, Cambodian military exercise Angkor Sentinel 2012
Cambodian and US military personnel during the March 2012 Angkor Sentinel joint military exercises. MENG KIMLONG

Cambodia suspends US military programs

Cambodia suspended military programs with the US shortly after the elections, a US State Department official said yesterday.

Speaking at a press briefing held in Washington DC, spokeswoman Marie Harf said the suspension was a "unilateral" decision by Cambodia.

"Following the elections, the Cambodian Ministry of Defense postponed or canceled a number of international military programs, including with the United States. We would not categorise the cancellation of programs as a suspension of military ties," she said.

"We haven’t indicated that’s something we want."

Before the elections, a number of US lawmakers urged cuts to aid should the vote be deemed less than "free and fair." Rights groups testifying at a congressional hearing on the topic encouraged the cuts be made to military aid, but no public decision on the matter had been issued.

Cambodia has typically enjoyed a warm military relationship with the US, which has provided millions in military assistance each year and held large training exercises. Three-star general Hun Manet, the son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, was the first Cambodian to attend the elite West Point military academy in the US.

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