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Foreign Affairs Ministry acknowledges German visa changes

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Foreign Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry denies to the press on Monday that Germany had issued visa bans for high-ranking officials' private travel, a mischaracterisation of The Post's reporting. FRESH NEWS

Foreign Affairs Ministry acknowledges German visa changes

After days of denying the veracity of The Post's reporting that Germany had suspended preferential visa treatment for private travel for high-ranking Cambodian government officials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Thursday that such a measure had indeed been taken.

In a press release, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry wrote that the German embassy had informed the Ministry of Foreign affairs about the suspension.

On Monday, The Post first reported the steps taken by the German government, which came to light through a parliamentary inquiry about relations with Cambodia after the dissolution of the main opposition party. In response, representatives of Cambodia's Foreign and Interior ministries, as well as Prime Minister Hun Sen himself, challenged the reporting, even after German government documentation was supplied the following day outlining the decision.

In its statement, the Foreign Ministry took exception to the move in response to the dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party.

“[We] regret that such measures were taken without due consideration of Cambodia's political realities and in total disregard of the legal and judicial independence of the country,” the ministry's statement reads. “The [Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] considers the unilateral actions as politically motivated and prejudicially bias, which ran counter to the ongoing efforts of the two countries’ long-standing ties and bilateral cooperation. The MFAIC considers Germany's reactions to Cambodia’s recent political development as hypocritical and a double standards, considering its different treatment towards various countries on the similar issue of democracy and respect for human rights.”

Sounry then stressed Cambodia’s “unwavering commitment” to multi-party democracy and the rule of law, as well as the scheduled parliamentary elections in July this year.

The German embassy did not respond to request for comments.

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