NEW YORK-Cambodia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hor
Namhong, addressed the United Nations General Assembly on September 30 to condemn
the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad and reaffirm Cambodia's commitment
to the fight against terrorism. It was the first time he had addressed the world
Namhong said terror networks were regrouping worldwide to plot and kill more innocent
people. He invoked a statement by US President George W Bush saying that nations
which resolutely fight terror "will earn the favorable judgment of history".
Namhong offered the recent arrests of terror suspects in Cambodia as proof of the
nation's support for the US-led war on terrorism. At least four suspects have been
incarcerated for their alleged involvement in terrorist organizations.
In May, three alleged terrorists were arrested by the authorities at two Saudi-backed
Islamic schools-one of the suspects is Egyptian and two others are Thai nationals.
The Thai Muslims, Abdul Azi Jahki Chuiming, 35, and Muhammad Yalaudin Mading, 41,
and the Egyptian, Esam Mohammed Khidr Ali, 40, are being held in Pre Sar prison pending
an appeal hearing, said their lawyer, Kap Suopha, on October 6. But he said the police
investigation since their arrest four months ago had not produced any evidence implicating
them in terrorist acts.
In June, Cambodian police also arrested Sman Esma El, a 23-year-old local Muslim
teacher at a foreign-funded Islamic school near Phnom Penh. He was charged in municipal
court under Cambodia's anti-terror law on June 12. Investigating Judge Oun Bunna
indicated that other Cambodian members of Jemaah Islamiya (JI), the organization
accused of plotting the Bali bombing last October, may still be at large.
Government officials have also acknowledged that a top JI operative and suspected
member of al-Qaida, known as Hambali, lived in Phnom Penh for several months between
early 2002 and 2003.
Besides addressing terrorism, Namhong used the forum to advocate other issues on
the world stage. He pressed the UN to expand the 15-member Security Council, the
international body charged with authorizing force, to include more permanant members.
There are now only five.
"Without sufficient reform of this world body, the United Nations cannot be
an effective and efficient world organization to collectively respond to the complex
global challenges affecting humanity in this 21st century," he said.
He suggested that the Security Council include Japan, Germany and India as permanent
members because of their crucial role in international political and economic affairs
Namhong also expressed Cambodia's regret for the death of Sergio Vieira de Mello,
the UN official supervising Iraq's reconstruction, who died after the UN Headquarters
in Baghdad was destroyed by a terrorist bomb on August 19. Vieira de Mello served
as UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Cambodia with UNTAC between 1992 and 1993.
Following his appearance at the UN, Namhong joined Prime Minister Hun Sen for the
ninth ASEAN Summit on October 7, 8 and 9 in Bali, Indonesia.