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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vietnam, Cambodia strengthen co-operation

(VOV) - Hoang Binh Quan, a Party Central Committee (PCC)’s member and the Head of the PCC Commission for Foreign Affairs paid a two-day visit to Cambodia on February 14-15.

He met with Cambodian King, Norodom Sihamoni; President of Cambodian People’s Party (PPC) and President of Senate, Chea Sim; Vice President of PPC and Prime Minister, Hun Sen; and the Chairman of Cambodian National Assembly, Heng Samrin.

At the meetings, Quan conveyed best regards of Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and other Party and State leaders to Cambodian Party and State leaders. He briefed them on the fine results of the 11th National Party Congress and affirmed that the congress’s resolutions encompass all the theoretical ad practical issues on building socialism and national construction in 25 years of the renewal process, 20 years of implementing the Party political platform, 10 years of implementing the socio-economic development strategy in the 2001-2010 period and five years of implementing the 10th National Party Congress.

Quan reaffirmed that Vietnam always did its utmost to build a long-term friendship and co-operation with Cambodia.

Cambodian leaders congratulated Vietnam on the success of the 11th National Party Congress and Nguyen Phu Trong on his new position. They expressed their hope that under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the country would obtain more achievements in the process of becoming a modern industrialised country in 2020.

They expressed their gratitude for Vietnam’s support for Cambodia’s struggles for independence and escaping of Pol Pot genocide to restore and develop the country. They committed themselves to strengthening the ties of traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation and long lasting relations with Vietnam.

During his stay in Cambodia, Quan also held talks with Sai Chhum, head of the CPP Standing Committee.

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Clashes along Thai-Cambodian border resume, both sides blame each other

By Thaweeporn Kummetha

BANGKOK, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Rhetoric wars between Bangkok and Phnom Pehn began after skirmishes between Thai and Cambodian troops erupted again at disputed border area on Tuesday.

Thai Foreign Minister's secretary Chavanont Intarakomalyasut told Xinhua on Wednesday that Cambodia should respect the outcome of the meeting with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday in New York by stop firing to Thai side.

"Without clashes initiated by the Cambodia troops, the negotiation would be much easier," Chavanont said.

However, Cambodian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday afternoon issued a statement, accusing Thai side of initiating the skirmishes, adding that Cambodian troop refrained from firing back.

"In respect of the recommendation of the UNSC on Feb. 14, Cambodian troops exercise utmost restraint and did not respond to this renewed provocation from the Thai armed forces," the statement says.

From 9 p.m. of Tuesday to 5 a.m. of Wednesday local time, there were several small rounds of skirmishes at the military zone at the Thai-Cambodian border on Phu Makuae of Thailand's Si Saket province and Phnom Trap of Cambodia's Preah Vihear province.

Thai army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said there are no deaths and injuries on Thai side. There are no reports of Cambodian deaths and injuries.

While Sansern, as reported by the Bangkok Post online, said the Cambodian troops' intention had clearly been to take the Thai position, Cambodia statement says: "this violation of the ceasefire by the Thai armed forces clearly shows that the real intention behind Thailand's insistence on resolving the matter bilaterally is to use its overwhelmingly superior military forces to take over Cambodian territory in the vicinity of the temple of Preah Vihear."

After the meeting between three foreign ministers, Kasit Piromya of Thailand, Hor Namhong of Cambodia and Marty Natalegawa of Indonesian as the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), on Monday in New York, UNSC issued a statement calling on Thailand and Cambodia to ceasefire and negotiate.

However, it seems that both sides interpreted the outcome of the meeting differently -- favoring their sides: While Bangkok says bilateral talks is enough, Phnom Penh insists that a third party intervention is needed to solve conflict.

Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers are expected to meet again in the ASEAN forum on February 22 at Jakarta, Indonesia, to talk about disputed border issues.

Asked what will be discussed in the forum, the secretary to Thai foreign minister said Thailand and Cambodia will exchange and explain the situation to ASEAN members and "to help creating good atmosphere for bilateral talks"

During Feb. 4-7, both sides exchanged fierce firings and shelling resulting in three deaths of Thai soldiers and eight on Cambodian side as well as forced at least 20,000 local Thais to evacuate.

Editor: Xiong Tong
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Cambodia turns to Asean

Thailand has rebuffed a plan by Cambodia to ask the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to send observers to monitor the shaky ceasefire along the border.

The move comes less than a week before foreign ministers from the Asean member countries meet in Jakarta where they will discuss the border spat.

There has also been an upturn in fighting between Thai and Cambodian troops at Phu Makhua mountain in Kantharalak district of Si Sa Ket province, which is part of the area under dispute.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters in Phnom Penh yesterday on his return from the United Nations Security Council meeting on Monday night that Cambodia would lodge a request for Asean observers at the Jakarta meeting.

The meeting on Tuesday will be chaired by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who also attended the UNSC meeting on Monday along with Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya.

Hor Namhong said Thailand had ignored the Security Council's call on Monday for restraint and that it was necessary for Asean to step in to ensure peace on the border near the 11th- century Preah Vihear temple.

"We will ask Asean observers to come to the Preah Vihear area to make sure that a permanent ceasefire holds," he said. "Let's see whether the Thais accept or not."

Mr Kasit's secretary, Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, dismissed Cambodia's call for Asean involvement. He said the plan would be shot down when it was put on the negotiating table.

"Mr Hor Namhong failed to convince the UNSC to send its observers to the [disputed] area," Mr Chavanond said.

"That's why he keeps trying to throw the matter to Asean to take it up.

Thailand was confident the regional grouping would not intervene in the dispute but would act as a facilitator in putting an end to the border conflict between Bangkok and Phnom Penh.

Thailand and Cambodia disagree on how the border conflict should be resolved. Thailand insists on bilateral talks while Cambodia envisages a role for outside parties.

Thailand has proposed that the problem be thrashed out at the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission meeting next Sunday. But Cambodia appears noncommittal.

"If Cambodia rejects the bilateral channel, I can't see any other mechanisms to replace it," Mr Chavanond said.

The two countries accused each other at the Security Council meeting in New York on Monday of instigating the fighting on Feb 4 and several more clashes after that. They are expected to trade accusations again at the meeting of Asean foreign ministers.

The UN security body has called for a permanent ceasefire and rejected Cambodia's call for UN intervention and peacekeepers to be stationed at the disputed frontier.

Mr Kasit, who will lead the Thai delegation to the Indonesian capital, will brief Defence Minster Prawit Wongsuwon on the outcome of the Security Council meeting.

Gen Prawit and Cambodian Defence Minister Teah Banh will decide whether there will be a permanent ceasefire in line with the call by the Security Council, Mr Chavanond said.

The UN has ordered its six staff to leave the Cambodian province of Koh Kong opposite Trat province because of the border skirmishes.

UN security officials told staff by email that travel to Koh Kong town was restricted "until further notice".

The UN email said up to 70% of the town's population had left because of the border tensions.

The UN has also evacuated staff from areas near Preah Vihear temple.
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Carestream donates imager to Cambodian hospital

Rochester Business Journal

Carestream Health Inc. has donated a laser imager to a Cambodian hospital that provides free medical care.

The Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope in Phnom Penh received the Carestream Dryview 5850 Laser Imager, which provides affordable, laser-quality x-ray film printing, and is designed to serve radiology departments, imaging centers and small clinics, Carestream officials said.

The mission of the Sihanouk Hospital Center provides education and clinical training of medical professionals, while delivering 24-hour high-quality, free medical care for the poor and disadvantaged in Cambodia.

“We are moved by the tremendous generosity displayed by Carestream Health, in giving us a brand new laser printer to support our work,” said Kevin O’Brien, executive director of the hospital. “One third of the people of Cambodia live on a dollar a day or less. Thanks to Carestream Health, we are the first facility in the country equipped to provide high-resolution printed images, completely free of charge.”

(c) 2011 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail
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Cambodia To Seek Asean Monitors at Border

The stone remains of Preah Vihear, built nearly 1,000 years ago, are supposed to be a protected U.N. World Heritage site. Instead they are at the heart of a dangerous tug-of-war between Cambodia and Thailand.

Cambodia will seek Asean monitors near Preah Vihear temple and in subsequent border talks, when regional foreign ministers meet in Jakarta next week, a senior official said.

Returning from an address to the UN Security Council this week, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters Wednesday he will ask Asean to send monitors to ensure no more clashes occur between Cambodia and Thailand on the border.

The Security Council on Monday encouraged Thailand and Cambodia to enter a permanent ceasefire after heavy fighting on the border earlier this month. It also encouraged Asean arbitration in the longstanding border feud.

Cambodian officials have said seven people were killed, including two civilians, in clashes that also damaged Preah Vihear temple between Feb. 4 and Feb. 7.

“I will request Asean observers to the border dispute area between Cambodia and Thailand to monitor a ceasefire and ensure that a permanent ceasefire is implemented,” Hor Namhong said Wednesday.

He also said Cambodia must discuss the dispute with Thailand but that those discussions now need a third party mediator such as Asean. When foreign ministers meet in Jakarta on Feb. 22, he will request that an Asean representative be present for all border discussions between the two sides.

“We will wait and see if Thailand accepts this suggestion or not,” he said. “We should know the real ambitions of Thailand.”

Thai officials have said they want to resolve the dispute bilaterally.

Cambodian officials have meanwhile accused Thailand of firing mortars and machine guns at Cambodia in recent days. Thailand says Cambodian soldiers have been shooting at Thai troops. Neither claim has been independently verified.
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Supreme Court Again Delays Decision on Unionist Murder

The Supreme Court on Wednesday delayed a verdict against a man accused of murdering a labor activist, putting off a decision as the UN’s special envoy for human rights is in Cambodia to assess the courts.

Surya Subedi, the human rights special representative for the UN secretary-general, is on a 10-day mission that began Tuesday. He arrived at the Supreme Court early Wednesday morning, only to witness a decision delayed for the second time.

Judges said they would announce a decision on March 2 in the case against Thach Saveth, who is accused of the 2004 murder of Ros Sovanareth, the head of a factory union.

Rights group say Thach Saveth’s case lacks evidence and that he is likely not the killer. Thach Saveth has said he is innocent and has an alibi.

Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union of the Workers in the Kingdom of Cambodia, said Thach Saveth had not received a fair trial and that the postponement of the decision was due to the arrival of Subedi at the court.

No judge announced the reasons for the decision on Wednesday morning. Instead a court clerk appeared to announce to the courtroom that the Supreme Court was “too busy” to present a decision.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the delay was not due to Subedi’s visit. The court has its own “priority” in issuing a decision or not, he said.

Huon Phall, the 49-year-old mother of the defendant, told VOA Khmer she believed her son to be innocent and wanted the court to “finish this case.”

Am Sam Ath, head investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said the case echoed that of Born Samnang and Sok Samoeun, two men who were jailed for five years for the murder of Chea Vichea but who were widely considered innocent. They were both released on bail after a Supreme Court decision in 2009 that requires a retrial by the Appeals Court.

Ros Sovannareth, a factory representative for the Free Trade Union, was killed in May 2004, less than three months after the murder of Chea Vichea, the president of the same union.
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Industrial development vital to ensure sustainable growth: Cambodian PM

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday the promotion of industrial sectors will be necessary to ensure the sustainable development of Cambodian economic growth.

"There is an urgent need for Cambodia to modernize its economy through promoting the development of industrial sector in order to achieve a sustainable growth," he said during opening the fourth Cambodian Economic Forum.

Cambodia's economic growth was 5.5 percent in 2010 thanks to garment manufacture, tourism and agriculture, he said, adding that the growth this year could be more than 6 percent.

The premier said that the development of the industrial sectors should be focused on capturing more value added of existing core sectors such as in garment industry through establishing raw material factories such as a buttons manufacturing factory and in agriculture via building processing plants.

Also on Cambodia's emerging industries such as furniture, handicrafts, paper/recycled paper, construction materials, household appliances, simple electronic equipment, oil and gas, mineral ores and fertilizer, he said.

"These industries need to be closely studied to assess whether they can be competitive in the domestic and export markets," he said.

"I am confident that Cambodia now has appropriate favorable conditions to move forward to the next higher development stage," he said.

Qimiao Fan, Country Manager of the World Bank-Cambodia, said during the opening ceremony that Cambodia has abundant land favorable for agriculture, tourism development, mining biodiversity conservation, housing, urbanization and infrastructure.

"With these potentials, Cambodia still lags in terms of skills - - both soft skills like attitude to work and technical skills," he said.

The two-day forum was under the theme "Cambodian Economy in post-crisis environment: industrial policy -- option toward a sustainable development".

It was attended by some 500, who are government's policy makers, economists, development partners, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and United Nations Development Program.

Source: Xinhua .
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