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EC shifts aid from NGOs towards govt

EC shifts aid from NGOs towards govt

EUROPEAN Community Ambassador Gwyn Morgan has told the Post that the focus of

donations to Cambodia will shift from international NGOs to the government. He

said the EC's commitment to the Cambodian government has no strings attached to

it.

Morgan is also the EC's Ambassador to Thailand, Malaysia, Laos,

Vietnam, Singapore as well as Cambodia.

He said:"We are obviously in a

new ball-game in Cambodia because of the elections, and the formation of the new

government.

"Whereas previously we worked exclusively through

non-governmental organizations, we are now taking stock of the need to work out

programs in cooperation with the Royal Cambodian Government.

 

"A number of contacts by technical experts and consultants have taken place

already."

The EC is the largest aid donor in Cambodia.

Morgan

said:"Prior to the elections we had no choice but to work with international

organizations. But we are in a better position now, since we want to give the

majority of our funding direct to the government.

"We will have a

smaller percentage of a larger sum, nevertheless, to spend with NGOs. But we

will be able to be more selective and choose the NGOs that we know can be really

delivering on the ground."

When asked whether the money already commited

was contingent at all to political developments, Morgan said: "We did not make

any conditions whatsoever. We deal with the government in place, and if it is

replaced by another one tommorow, as long as it is responsible, we will continue

to deal with it.

"On the question of what kind of government we will deal

with, we have 120 Embassies in Brussels, accredited to the European Union. We've

got every possible size, shape, form of government in power that you could

imagine.

"Nothing, nothing surprises us. We've managed to work with all

kinds of governments, I have no reason to believe that we won't be able to work

with any future government here."

When asked about the EC's assesment of

governmental policy so far, Morgan said: "We, the EC, are most impressed by the

efforts being made by the Cambodian government to create an [institutional]

structure.

"It is not easy, it is not even, it is not global, but the

effort, nevertheless, is one to be admired. Given the rather chaotic situation

in which Cambodia found itself prior to the elections, our attitude is a

realistic one.

"We do not scream perfection, and neither do our Cambodian

interlocutors claim perfection. And our aim in our cooperation with the Royal

Government of Cambodia is to sustain the government of Cambodia as

well."

"Part of our cooperation is aimed to show that we want to be in

permanent partnership with the government of Cambodia. We are optimistic, but

not unrealistic.

"Our main concern is that the government whatever its

pattern of governance, is capable of using our funds constructively and

positively and to that extent we think that this government can do it.

"We will not put our money in unless we are sure that there is a

structure of some kind, but the Royal government has welcomed this support, it

has in fact asked us for help, and it is our first and most important

priority."

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