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09PHNOMPEN142 HOR NAMHONG WELCOMES GROWING U.S. COOPERATION IN ASEAN

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“195109”,”3/4/2009 9:58″,”09PHNOMPENH142″,

“Embassy Phnom Penh”,

“UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,

“08PHNOMPENH701″,”VZCZCXRO8921

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHFK RUEHHM RUEHKSO

RUEHNAG RUEHNH RUEHPB RUEHTRO

DE RUEHPF #0142/01 0630958

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 040958Z MAR 09

FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0464

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3269

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0683

RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 2673

INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE

RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2369”,”UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000142

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP, P, D, IO

STATE PLEASE PASS TO USAID

BANGKOK PLEASE PASS TO USAID/RDMA

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

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

SUBJECT: HOR NAMHONG WELCOMES GROWING U.S. COOPERATION IN ASEAN

 

REF: 08 PHNOM PENH 701

 

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister (FM)

Hor Namhong focused on ASEAN, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT) and

U.S. support for the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) joining

regional and larger international institutions during EAP Deputy

Assistant Secretary (DAS) and U.S. Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs Scot

Marciel\’s March 2 courtesy call in advance of the second annual

U.S.-Cambodia bilateral dialogue. Hor Namhong welcomed Secretary

Clinton\’s visit to the ASEAN Secretariat and requested that she

consider a trip to Phnom Penh after she attends the ASEAN Post

Ministerial Meeting in July. The FM dismissed public criticism of

the RGC over the barring of a Cambodian civil society representative

from talks at the recent ASEAN Summit.

 

2. (SBU) Hor Namhong thanked the U.S. for its bilateral assistance

and asked the USG to provide more financial support to the KRT. He

also asked the USG to support Cambodia\’s bid for a non-permanent

seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC) and request to join APEC, and

he briefly discussed ongoing land and maritime border negotiations

with Thailand. The FM\’s strong focus on regional issues and the

RGC\’s desire to join the UNSC and APEC are positive indications that

Cambodia wishes to step up its international engagement. END

SUMMARY.

 

INCREASING U.S. ENGAGEMENT WITH ASEAN

————————————-

 

3. (SBU) Hor Namhong said that ASEAN Secretary General Surin

Pitsuwan sent a positive report of his meeting with Secretary

Clinton, and that the ASEAN Foreign Ministers viewed her visit to

the Secretariat in Jakarta as a sign that U.S. cooperation with

ASEAN would continue to grow. Ambassador Marciel reiterated that

the U.S. would work hard to improve relations with ASEAN and that

the U.S. would begin the process of pursuing accession to the ASEAN

Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. He confirmed that Secretary

Clinton would attend the ASEAN Post Ministerial Meeting in Thailand

in July, and Hor Namhong requested that she consider a trip to Phnom

Penh while she is in the region.

 

CAMBODIA AND THE ASEAN SUMMIT

—————————–

 

4. (SBU) Hor Namhong stated that last weekend\’s ASEAN Summit had

been productive and stressed the importance of the ratified ASEAN

Charter. When asked about the barring of a Cambodian civil society

representative from the talks, Hor Namhong repeated his public

statements that the Summit organizers excluded the purported

Cambodian representative after the RGC delegation noted that the

representative did not appear in the ASEAN Charter\’s list of

registered NGOs. He said that the RGC wanted to play a role in the

selection of Cambodian civil society interlocutors. (NOTE: The

Cambodian representative and his NGO are not known to anyone at this

Embassy, and his selection is a bit of a mystery. END NOTE.)

Ambassador Marciel remarked that Cambodia being raised in the same

context as Burma was not good for its image.

 

BILATERAL ASSISTANCE AND THE KHMER ROUGE TRIBUNAL

——————————————— —-

 

5. (SBU) Hor Namhong expressed his gratitude for U.S. assistance in

basic education and health, and for the recent donation of 40 trucks

to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. He highlighted the

much-appreciated work of the Peace Corps. He also asked Ambassador

Marciel how the U.S. could contribute more financial support to the

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), often

called the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT), noting that Japan had pledged

$20-$21 million towards the UN side of the tribunal and that the

Cambodian side of the court would soon run out of money. Ambassador

Marciel said that the U.S. hoped to contribute more funding but

cautioned that the U.S. government budget process moved slowly. Hor

Namhong also noted that although there had been media speculation

about corruption in the KRT, there had been four to seven

independent audits of the tribunal that had found no cases of

corruption. He added that the RGC was working with the UN to

develop mechanisms to promote greater transparency in the KRT.

 

CAMBODIA IN APEC AND AT THE UNSC

——————————–

 

PHNOM PENH 00000142 002 OF 002

 

6. (SBU) Hor Namhong repeated past requests (Reftel) for the U.S. to

support Cambodia\’s bid to join the UN Security Council (UNSC) in

2013. (NOTE: Elections will be held in 2012, and the Republic of

Korea is reportedly also running. END NOTE.) He said that all ASEAN

members, plus 61 other countries, had confirmed their support for

the Cambodians\’ bid. He also asked that the U.S. push to lift the

moratorium on new members joining APEC and support Cambodia\’s

accession to the group. He stressed that more involvement in

regional and international institutions would advance Cambodia\’s

development. Ambassador Marciel promised to take the RGC\’s requests

back to Washington for consideration.

 

PREAH VIHEAR BORDER DISPUTE; OVERLAPPING CLAIMS AREA

——————————————— ——-

 

7. (SBU) When discussing border issues, the Foreign Minister said

that the Thais had agreed to refer to a 2000 MOU regarding

demarcation of the entire land border, including the disputed border

area around the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Preah Vihear. He said

that the RGC would push to use a map of the border made by the

French during the protectorate era in 1904-1908. He also said that

the RGC and Thai government had agreed to bring in technical experts

to help map the maritime border, including an overlapping claims

area proposed to be developed jointly, and determine how the two

countries could share revenues from potential oil and gas resources.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

8. (SBU) Hor Namhong\’s strong focus on regional issues and the RGC\’s

aspiration to join APEC and the UNSC signal that Cambodia is eager

to play a more active role on the international stage. Increased

engagement at the regional and global levels would, as the FM

pointed out, further Cambodia\’s development agenda. A greater

international focus on Cambodia could also persuade the RGC to

accelerate reforms in areas important to the U.S., such as rule of

law and good governance, trade facilitation and economic growth, and

security cooperation. However, as illustrated recently by the spat

over the participation of civil society at the ASEAN Summit, the RGC

still has a lot to learn to improve its international image and

become more fully integrated in the international community.

 

RODLEY

Written by thaicables

July 21, 2011 at 5:24 am

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