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

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • EU timber deal in firing line

    A committee of more than 20 national and international organisations filed a petition to the EU on October 10 to prevent it from signing a timber trade agreement with Vietnam, noting that the deal would be disastrous to the Kingdom’s forests. The petition claims Vietnamese timber

  • Kim Sok to keep up fight ‘for change’ from Finland

    Kim Sok, wanted by the Kingdom’s authorities for defaming the government, reiterated on Sunday his determination to continue helping to make “a real change” to Cambodian politics after receiving asylum in Finland, even as a government spokesman mocked the political analyst over the development.

  • PM: Programme to recover Vietnam War missing back on

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced the resumption of the MIA programme to recover the remains of American service personnel missing after action on Cambodian soil during the Vietnam War. The programme was suspended for more than a year after the US government imposed visa