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Thursday, February 25, 2010

China, Cambodia sign Consular Treaty to further strengthen cooperation ties

China and Cambodia on Thursday signed here the Consular Treaty, aimed to further strengthen the cooperation relations between the two friendly countries.

Long Visalo, secretary of state of Cambodia's Foreign Ministry and Zhang Jinfeng, Chinese ambassador to the Kingdom, signed the treaty on behalf of their respective countries at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and other government officials presented at the signing ceremony.

"Along with all-round development of the friendship relations between our two countries, personnel exchanges between the two countries are also increasing," Long Visalo said, and expressed his believe that the Consular Treaty will effectively protect the legitimate interest of citizens of the two countries.

Zhang Jinfeng said that China and Cambodia are good neighbors and have a good cooperation on many fields including consular, such as jointly combat illegal immigrant and transnational crimes.
She said that the Consular Treaty has established the framework of consular cooperation between the two countries, provided a legal basis for solving the problems that may arise in the consular affairs and also defined the responsibilities and obligations of both sides. She believed that the treaty will help promote the further development of bilateral consular relations.

Zhang also hoped that the two sides will exchange instruments of ratification as soon as possible, so that the treaty could come into effect as soon as possible.

At present, Cambodia has established six Consulate Generals in China, including China's Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Kunming, Chongqing and Nanning, while China has not yet set up the consulate in Cambodia.

Source: Xinhua
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OZ in $512m hole after big restructure

OZ MINERALS has signed off on what was a miserable 2009, posting an annual loss of $512 million after being forced into a drastic restructuring by its bankers when the global financial crisis was at its worst.

The restructure reduced the group's portfolio of mines from five to one and led to the appointment in August of a new managing director, Terry Burgess.

According to an upbeat Mr Burgess yesterday, it was time to focus on OZ's future. He said the group's remaining operating asset, the new Prominent Hill copper and gold mine in South Australia, made an excellent start, and that the results of a study of underground mining there would be ready by June. The market should also look out for a maiden-resource estimate next month for the group's gold exploration project in Cambodia, he said.

OZ Mineral's declared loss of $512 million does not look bad when compared with the $2.5 billion loss recorded in 2008, when there were some massive asset-value write-downs following the creation of OZ through the merger of Zinifex and Oxiana. But it was the performance of Prominent Hill that was the main focus at yesterday's profit briefing to analysts.

Prominent Hill's maiden profit was $203 million. After taking in $91 million in charges on the refinancing of bank loans and foreign exchange losses of $113 million, the group's net profit for the year was $31 million.

Including the $607 million loss recorded on the $2 billion sale of the four mines last June (offset by $63 million in earnings before their sale) took OZ's bottom line to the loss of $512 million.

The upside from last year's drastic restructuring is that OZ has minimal debt and cash of $1.07 billion. Despite the cash bundle, it is not paying dividends, preferring to earmark the funds for regrowth.

OZ intends to expand through the acquisition of copper projects, either at the exploration, development or production stage.

Gold was not mentioned, but Mr Burgess said later that OZ had not gone cold on gold.

He pointed to the looming maiden-resource estimate for Cambodia as an indication of OZ's continuing interest in gold. The market believes a maiden resource of at least 2 million ounces will be required to maintain OZ's interest in the project.

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Cambodian military, business cosy up as premier calls for support

Phnom Penh - Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has asked business leaders to help fund the country's military, saying all citizens of the South-East Asian nation have a duty 'to defend the nation,' national media reported Thursday.

'This is not a legal duty that you have to do - the support is voluntary according to your ability,' the Cambodia Daily newspaper quoted him as saying.

Hun Sen's speech was followed by a get-together late Wednesday hosted by the prime minister where senior military officials were scheduled to meet 250 leading business people.

Government spokesman Prak Sokhon told the newspaper that the aim was to establish a strong relationship between business and the military.

'To sponsor a battalion - well, 'sponsor' is a big word, but the private companies will help as far as they can,' Prak Sokhon said. 'In the past they sent food and so on to the border - it will be this kind of relationship.'

Earlier this month Hun Sen addressed troops near the Thai-Cambodian border and heaped praise on a number of businessmen for providing support to the army.

'[They] donated 7,000 wooden beds at a total cost of 210,000 dollars,' Hun Sen said, before outlining further requirements. 'I need 30,000 beds for the [army], military police and the police who are standing by at the Cambodian-Thai border.'

Hun Sen also announced Wednesday that he would visit troops on the Cambodian-Thai border this weekend in the north-western province of Battambang.

However, he refuted any link with the imminent verdict in the case against Thailand's fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. Thailand's Supreme Court is set to rule Friday on whether to seize 2.3 billion dollars of Thaksin's assets.

Thaksin was appointed as an adviser to the Cambodian government last year, a move that ramped up tensions between the two nations.

Cambodia's military has long been accused by human rights groups of involvement in illegal activities, including logging, mining, land grabs and human rights abuses.
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Cambodian premier: Opposition leader won't run in next election

Phnom Penh - Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen said the leader of the country's main opposition party would not be permitted to participate in the next general election unless he serves a pending jail sentence, local media reported Thursday.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy is currently in France after being sentenced in January to two years in absentia for his role in uprooting controversial boundary posts on the border between Vietnam and Cambodia.

'This time the court sentenced him to jail - no pardon this time,' Hun Sen was reported as saying by the Phnom Penh Post newspaper. 'In the next election [due in 2013] there will be opposition parties, but this person will not be there.'

'You must be jailed first, if you are brave enough to come and be jailed,' he added.

Sam Rainsy told the German Press Agency dpa in late January that he was prepared to return and serve time provided the government freed two villagers locked up over same incident.

He said the government must also return land that farmers in the border area said they had lost in an ongoing border-marking effort between the two nations.

Both Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy have accused each other of betraying Cambodia in the border row.

The border-post incident, which took place in October, riled Hanoi which has close links to the government in Phnom Penh.

Vietnam has significant business interests in Cambodia, including investments

in agribusiness, aviation, telecommunications and banking.

In December, Hanoi signed an agreement with Phnom Penh that could result in investments worth billions of US dollars, including a deal to look for aluminium ore, known as bauxite, in Cambodia's border province of Mondolkiri.
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