Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US agencies quibble over KR diplomat



US agencies quibble over KR diplomat

US agencies quibble over KR diplomat

A former Khmer Rouge diplomat has been living in the United States after his

diplomatic status expired.

The New York Times this month disclosed that

Thiounn Prasith - who represented the Khmer Rouge at the United Nations from the

late 1970s until 1991 - was living in the New York suburb of Mount

Vernon.

The Times quoted Prasith as saying he was living in the US

legally, and had given up politics to devote the rest of his life to his

family.

The presence of Prasith - who the Times reported had been close

to KR leader Pol Pot and had defended his regime before the UN - has upset some

Khmer-Americans.

Prasith was the KR's UN representative at a time when

the world recognized a coalition of three oppositions groups - the KR, Funcinpec

and the KPLNF - as the legitimate Cambodian government following the Vietnamese

ousting of the KR.

As such, Prasith was given a base in New York and a

diplomatic passport.

The KR's withdrawal from the UN elections agreed

under the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement saw him lose his position.

Following

the Times' article, the US State Department confirmed that Prasith was living in

the US. However, deputy spokesman David Johnson said the department had no role

in deciding to allow Prasith to stay in the US.

But Reuters reported that

the US Immigration and Naturalization Service said it had no knowledge of

Prasith.

"We could not find any verification that this individual was

admitted to the United States or that there had been any adjustment of his

status. This man is not in our system," spokesman Dan Kane said.

He

maintained that any decision about Prasith's immigration status would have had

to have been approved by the State Department.

The New York Times

reported that Prasith, as a prominent former KR official, was of interest to the

State Department-funded Cambodian Genocide Program.

The program is

investigating genocide under the KR's 1975-79 rule.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration