Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US lawmakers meet with foreign minister




US lawmakers meet with foreign minister

Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn (left) greets US Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen.
Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn (left) greets US Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen. Heng Chivoan

US lawmakers meet with foreign minister

Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn met with two US congressmen yesterday, discussing ongoing disagreements between the two nations while also stressing their “good relationship”.

Sokhonn met members of the House Appropriations Committee, including Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen and Representative Pete Aguilar. Neither congressman took questions after the meeting.

“The prime minister wants to have a good relationship with the US,” said ministry spokesman Chum Sounry after the meeting.

After stressing the positives, Sounry acknowledged there have been “some disagreements” – including repeated assertions over the last year by the ruling party that the US is behind an opposition-led plot to overthrow the government.

Tensions also flared between the two countries when the Kingdom decided to no longer accept deported Cambodians living in the US – many of whom fled Cambodia as refugees.

In response, America issued visa bans against Foreign Affairs officials, and Cambodia summarily suspended its cooperation in the ongoing search for the remains of American soldiers missing since the Vietnam War.

In response to the dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, and the arrest of its leader Kem Sokha, the US suspended election funding and has imposed partial visa bans.

“The minister expressed concern that the decision of the US to ban the visas for Cambodians is not proper when the two countries are in a good relationship,” Sounry said.

He did not mention the government’s accusations of US-backed attempts at revolution.

Yesterday, Sokhonn repeated his pledge that assistance in the search for remains of missing Americans would resume as soon as visa bans are lifted – a “humanitarian” issue that Sounry said is very important to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The US Embassy declined to comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,