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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

PM: Cambodia Is 'Victim' Of Climate Change

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA


Cambodia is a "victim" of climate change, and developed countries should shoulder more responsibility in reversing the effects of global warming, said Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Developing countries like Cambodia have been severely affected by climate change and lack the resources to tackle the problem on their own, Hun Sen said at the opening ceremony Monday at the country's first National Forum on Climate Change.

"The rich countries should be more responsible, as they have more resources to settle this matter. Cambodia is not the country responsible for climate change but is the victim. ... The huge countries should not blame less-developed countries," he said.

Hun Sen said rising temperatures, shifts in rainfall patterns and surging sea levels would only continue to hit developing countries like Cambodia the hardest.

"Developed countries certainly must accept most of the blame for causing the problem," Geoffrey Blate, climate change coordinator for the Greater Mekong program of the conservation group WWF, told the Phnom Penh Post. "At the same time, Cambodia can and should take immediate steps to address climate change. The problem is global in scope."

Hun Sen noted that in 2006 Cambodia implemented a program of climate change adaptation, which includes 39 projects to respond to the immediate needs of its communities. The premier said he was encouraged that the European Union is considering a budget of $2 billion to $15 billion annually to help poor countries implement their climate change adaption measures.

Hun Sen's comments come ahead of December's climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, in which world leaders will attempt to strike a new global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Observers at the Cambodia forum said they hoped it would help bolster the country's bargaining position ahead of the Copenhagen talks. Ministry of Environment officials are expected to present Cambodia's draft position on climate change at the forum's conclusion on Wednesday.

"Cambodia needs to have a strong voice in international negotiations and demand that developed countries meet their historical responsibility and provide financing for adaptation," said Brian Lund, regional director of Oxfam's East Asia office, the Post reports.

Cambodia's Environment Minister Mok Mareth linked climate change to devastating weather events over the past two decades.

From 1987 to 2007 the country experienced 12 floods that claimed the lives of 1,125 people and caused $300 million in damages, Mareth said. The country also faced five severe droughts, causing $140 million in damages, he said.

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Cambodian PM Offers to Host Fugitive Thai Ex - PM

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has offered to host his "eternal friend," fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, at any time, state television reported on Wednesday.

Hun Sen conveyed his message to Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, a Thai political heavyweight and close Thaksin aide, in comments likely to rile a Thai government anxious to minimise the billionaire's influence from exile.

State-run TVK said Hun Sen described Thaksin, ousted in a 2006 coup, as an "eternal friend" and said he had a residence in Cambodia waiting for him.

"Thaksin is a political victim and I take pity on him," Hun Sen told reporters after meeting Chavalit, a key member of the pro-Thaksin Puea Thai party, in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.

Hun Sen pledged his support for Puea Thai, Thailand's main opposition and the latest incarnation of Thaksin's disbanded mass Thai Rak Thai party.

His comments came on the eve of a summit of Asian leaders in Hua Hin, Thailand, where Hun Sen is due to meet his Thai counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva, whose fragile government is battling to survive amid mass protests by Thaksin's supporters.

MOUNTING TENSIONS

Hun Sen caused a stir this month when he ordered troops to shoot any Thai crossing illegally into Cambodia, as nationalist tensions mounted over an 11th century temple the two countries have fought over for decades.

Hun Sen previously threatened to boycott the Hua Hin meeting over the temple row, but has confirmed he will attend, while missing Friday's opening ceremony.

Thaksin, who scored an unprecedented two landslide election victories, has been living mostly in Dubai since skipping bail in August 2008 ahead of a two-year prison sentence for graft.

He owns a private jet and has travelled the world on various passports, including one from Nicaragua, and continues to rally his supporters in video addresses from exile.

Analysts say with Thaksin's vast war chest and huge support among the rural masses, Puea Thai would likely win the next election, a scenario that would lead to more instability in a country dogged by four years of intractable political strife.

Chavalit, an influential former prime minister who joined Pueu Thai last week, said Hun Sen saw Thaksin as a victim of a political vendetta.

"Hun Sen feels Thaksin has been unfairly treated. He says he has done so much for the country but he has no country to live in," Chavalit told reporters on his return to Bangkok. "He will build a house in Phnom Penh for Thaksin to live. He said there's no need to stay in Dubai, he can come any time he wants."
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Trial of war crimes our obligation

Trial of war crimes is our legal obligation, said Bangladesh Ambassador to USA Akramul Qader at a programme on October 18.

He said war criminals should be brought to book to serve justice to the war victims and to ensure a fair trial of the accused.

He was speaking as a keynote speaker at a seminar on 'Bangladesh 1971: Addressing claims of war crimes, genocide and human rights violation' at Kean University in New Jersey, USA.

Human Rights Institute and Bangladesh Study Group at Kean hosted the seminar, says a press release.

Saying that the trial will be fair and would meet international standard, Ambassador Qader informed the audience of the unanimous passage of a resolution on January 29 by the Bangladesh Parliament to try war criminals under the 1973 International Crimes (Tribunals) Act.

Referring to similar tribunals in countries like Cambodia, Ambassador Qader said Bangladesh had already sought assistance of UN experts on this issue in order to make the trial fair and transparent and to meet national and international legal and human rights standard.

Kean University President Dr Dawood Farahi, Dr Kristie Reilly, vice president and dean of Graduate Studies, and Dr Henry Kaplowitz, director, Human Rights Institute of Kean University, also spoke.

During the seminar, a number of survivors recalled stories of their suffering during the war.

Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Dr Abdul Momen, journalist and writer Shahriar Kabir, Mofidul Hoque, trustee of Liberation War Museum, Bangladesh, Dr Zia Uddin Ahmed of Pennsylvania, Anis Ahmed of Washington DC, Faruque Chowdhury and Roger Clark of New Jersey, Prof Shelly Feldman of Cornell University, Suhail Islam of New York, David Matas of Canada, Winston Nagan of Florida and Dr ABM Nasir of North Carolina were also present.
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RI suffers deficit in trade with Thailand

Bangkok (ANTARA News) - Indonesia still saw a deficit in its trade with Thailand despite a drastic increase in its exports to the neighboring country last year, an envoy said.

"We are trying to reduce it," Indonesian Ambassador to Thailand Muhammad Hatta said when receiving a delegation of the Indonesian Young Businessmen`s Association (HIPMI) here on Wednesday.

Indonesia`s exports to Thailand mainly consist of oil, gas and other natural resource products.

Indonesia`s exports to Thailand jumped to US$11 billion in 2008 from US$8.7 billion a year earlier, he said.

But he stopped short of revealing the amount of the deficit and the value of Thailand`s exports to Indonesia in the past couple of years.

The ambassador expressed hope that the association would play a bigger role in increasing Indonesia`s exports to Thailand in the years to come.

"Many (Thai) investors wish to invest in Indonesia. But a lack of supporting infrastructures has made them doubtful. I hope that HIPMI can capitalize on this opportunity," he said.

HIPMI Chairman for Information Technology and the Media Febrizal Rahmana meanwhile expressed hope that the Indonesian embassy in Thailand would always inform the association of any business opportunity in Thailand.

"We hope that we will be informed of any business potentials here," he said.

Both Indonesia and Thailand are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The other ASEAN members are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. (*)
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