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Govt slams US envoy over corruption claims

Govt slams US envoy over corruption claims

GOVERNMENT officials have lashed out at recent comments by US Ambassador Carol Rodley, who claimed that Cambodia is losing US$500 million every year to corruption.

Rodley made the comments in a speech at the "Clean Hands" anti-corruption concert on Saturday night, during which she also called on the government to adopt its long-awaited Anti-corruption Law.

In a statement Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected Rodley's comments, labeling them "politically motivated and unsubstantiated".

"It is very much regrettable that a representative of a foreign government has made such an allegation based on a biased assessment and without any proof," the statement said.

"The Royal Government of Cambodia wishes to remind all members of the diplomatic corps that they must maintain their neutrality and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Cambodia."

Om Yentieng, head of the government-run Committee of Human Rights, also rejected the comments, claiming they showed a political bias.

"I don't think madame ambassador would consider herself as opposition [to the government] because we have an opposition party already," he said at a press conference at the Ministry of Information on Tuesday, adding that he would resign his post if the Anti-corruption Law is not adopted in the near future.

US embassy spokesman John Johnson said Tuesday that the embassy declined to comment on the matter.

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