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08PHNOMPENH701 AMBASSADOR’S FAREWELL CALL ON FM HOR NAMHONG: DEEPER RELATIONS WITH A MORE MATURE CAMBODIA

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“166987”,”8/22/2008 10:02″,”08PHNOMPENH701″,

“Embassy Phnom Penh”,

“UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,

“08PHNOMPENH679″,”VZCZCXRO6424

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH

DE RUEHPF #0701/01 2351002

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 221002Z AUG 08

FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2304

INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEKDIA/DIA WASH DC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 0110

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2305

RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY”,

“UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000701

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR D, P, EAP/FO, EAP/MLS, and S/WCI.

Please also pass to USAID

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PBTS, MARR, TH, CB

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR\’S FAREWELL CALL ON FM HOR NAMHONG: DEEPER

RELATIONS WITH A MORE MATURE CAMBODIA

 

REF: PHNOM PENH 679

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. In an August 21 farewell call on Foreign Minister

Hor Namhong, the Ambassador congratulated the FM on his diplomacy in

respect to the dispute over Preah Vihear, highlighted the continued

strengthening of bilateral relations, expressed his optimism about

proposed KRT funding from the United States, and conveyed the

importance of a high level meeting between the UN\’s David Tolbert and

a representative from the RGC. FM Hor Namhong expressed his

commitment to not only settle the Preah Vihear dispute peacefully,

but to use the same strategy for the two smaller temples which are

also being contested. He also stressed the importance of U.S.

funding for the UN side of the KRT in order to deliver justice to the

Cambodian people. The FM rounded out the meeting by requesting U.S.

support for Cambodia\’s bid to become a non-permanent member of the UN

Security Council for a two year term beginning in 2013. END SUMMARY.

 

Improved Bilateral Relations

—————————–

 

2. (SBU) The FM expressed appreciation for improved U.S.-Cambodian

relations during the last few years. Hor Namhong vowed to continue

to work to strengthen the \”sanctity of a relationship which is

growing day to day,\” and specifically thanked the Ambassador for

support in the areas of health and education. The Ambassador

credited the Cambodian government for the improvements in bilateral

relations and stated his appreciation for the RGC\’s efforts to foster

better understanding and cooperation between the two countries. The

Ambassador noted that it will take considerably more time and

continued effort to overcome misunderstandings engendered over the

last fifty years, but said the close collaboration will continue

after his departure. To further emphasize this point, he told Hor

Namhong about Deputy Secretary Negroponte\’s proposed visit next

month, explaining that the Deputy Secretary will be the highest level

State representative to come to Cambodia in several years and that

his visit reflects the increasing importance the U.S. places on our

bilateral relations with Cambodia.

 

Preah Vihear: Peaceful Solution Imperative

——————————————

 

3. (SBU) The Ambassador praised Hor Namhong\’s diplomacy in response

to the Preah Vihear standoff. He described the FM\’s recent statement

to the press which compared the negotiations on Preah Vihear to a

\”steamroller,\” in that they are \”slow but moving ahead,\” to be

particularly astute. Hor Namhong noted that he was pleased with the

result of the recent talks with his Thai FM counterpart and the King

of Thailand, with all parties agreeing that a peaceful solution is

imperative for the two neighbors. However, his suggestion to use the

same type of diplomacy in relation to Ta Moan Thom and Ta Moan Touch,

two additional border temples which Thailand has occupied in the

past, was not commented on by his Thai interlocutors. Nonetheless,

Hor Namhong affirmed that once the area is stable, it is his

government\’s intention to reopen the international border crossing at

Preah Vihear to tourists entering from Thailand. Hor Namhong

mentioned that some UN Security Council members continue to watch the

issue closely and noted that the Cambodian permanent representative

intended to provide UNSC members with an update on the success, so

far, of the bilateral approach.

 

Khmer Rouge Tribunal: The road ahead

————————————

 

4. (SBU) The conversation then quickly turned to the topic of the

KRT, with Hor Namhong expressing his concern that the UN side is

facing a shortfall of funding. He stated the ECCC needs

approximately 40-50 million dollars to see it through to the end of

2009, and appealed to the U.S. government to contribute. The

Ambassador responded that the embassy is deeply committed to a just

accounting for KR-era crimes and noted that the issue is being

considered at the highest levels of the Department. The Ambassador

speculated that if other countries were to see America donating, they

would follow suit and lift the tribunal out of financial jeopardy.

The Ambassador noted recent allegations of corruption, which a RGC

meeting with the UN\’s David Tolbert will only help to resolve. He

urged Hor Namhong to ensure David Tolbert is received by the

government at a high level. (Note: in a later meeting, the Ambassador

was told by DPM Sok An that he would meet with Tolbert. End Note.)

 

UN Security Council: A request for support

——————————————

 

PHNOM PENH 00000701 002 OF 002

 

5. (SBU) Hor Namhong concluded the meeting by appealing to the U.S.

for support of Cambodia\’s 2012 bid to become a non-permanent member

of the UN Security Council in 2013 and mentioned that ASEAN is behind

the nomination. Given its recent history with genocide, civil war,

and a UN transition, Cambodia is well placed to sit on the Council

and share knowledge with other members. The Ambassador responded

that Cambodia\’s experiences would certainly bring an important

perspective to UNSC deliberations (Note: While ASEAN apparently backs

Cambodia\’s bid, it appears that the ROK is breaking Asian solidarity

and competing for the 2013 seat. End Note.)

 

6. (SBU) COMMENT: As reflected in the congenial and mutually

respectful meeting between Hor Namhang and the Ambassador, the

U.S.-Cambodian relationship is clearly stronger and more cooperative

than in previous years. The Cambodian government\’s willingness to

accept U.S. advice and exercise restraint, both physical and verbal,

in its recent dealings with Thailand has demonstrated a new sense of

calmness and maturity for this young democracy. Indeed, in a large

number of areas, including human rights, Burma, trafficking,

Montagnards, North Korea and the KRT, Cambodia has demonstrated a

surprising degree of trust and confidence in U.S. advice and

guidance.

 

Mussomeli

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Written by thaicables

July 18, 2011 at 7:01 am

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