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Monday, January 30, 2012

Cambodia to import oil from Iran

The government of Cambodia has announced that it is planning to import and refine oil from Iran in clear defiance of recent US sanctions on Iranian oil imports.

“Cambodia will not take into account the foreign policies of other countries toward Iran when considering investment in the Kingdom,” spokesman of Cambodia's Council of Ministers Ek Tha said yesterday.

“We do not discriminate where our FDI [foreign direct investment] comes from,” he said, adding that the deepening of cooperation with Iran was strictly civilian, not military, the Phnom Penh Post reported.

According to Ek Tha, Cambodia is planning to refine crude oil that it imports from Iran at a local refinery whose construction will begin within a few months, and then sell refined products to China and South Korea starting in 2014.

Construction of Cambodia's first oil refinery, located on 365 hectares in Sihanoukville and Kampot provinces, will begin in April and finish in 2014.

Tehran and Phnom Penh signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on oil and gas projects last year.

Reacting to the announcement, spokesman for the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Sean McIntosh, said members of the United Nations shouldn't ignore US policy toward Iran.

"We expect all UN members to strictly enforce UN [Security Council] relations and to consider carefully the impact of new US regulations when considering engaging in economic activity with Iran," he added.

The US President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions against Iran which seek to penalize other countries for importing Iran's oil or doing transactions with the country's central bank. The European Union also approved new sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors on January 23, which will cut off crude oil imports from Iran on July 1.

The United States, Israel and their European allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program and have used this pretext to impose four rounds of international and a series of unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran has refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran has a right to use nuclear technology for peaceful use.

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Cambodia's ruling party wins Senate majority

PHNOM PENH, Jan 30 (Bernama) –- The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) gained a majority of the votes in the country's Senate elections, receiving up to 77.81 percent, according to preliminary results provided by the National Election Committee (NEC) of Cambodia on Sunday.

The Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), which is the country's main opposition party, gained 21.93 percent of votes, reported Vietnam news agency on Monday.

According to NEC, the official election result will be announced on Feb 4, but may be postponed to March 5 if there is any complaint from political parties.

The Senate elections are taking place under observation of 131 representatives of political parties and 1,432 domestic and foreign observers.

Only two main political parties participated in this year's elections. They are the ruling CPP and SRP.

The elections will select only 57 seats out of 61 seats as two senators will be appointed by the King and two by the National Assembly.

The Senate election is held every six years. In the last election in 2006, CPP won 45 seats, followed by the royalist FUNCINPEC party with 10 seats, and the remainder went to SRP.
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Cambodia's ruling party wins more Senate seats

Jan 30, 2012 (Rasmei Kampuchea Daily - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- ' Phnom Penh (Rasmei Kampuchea Daily/ANN) -- The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won 78.1 per cent of the vote in Cambodia's Senate elections on Sunday with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) getting about 21.99 per cent, according to preliminary results announced by the National Election Committee (NEC).

The CPP announced separately that it had won 46 of the 57 seats up for grabs in the indirect election which was limited to less than 12,000 local councillors and national lawmakers. The SRP said it expected to win 11 seats. Two of the other four seats are appointed by the king and the other two are elected by the National Assembly.

Both parties said they were satisfied with the election environment.

Ok Kim An, an official at CPP headquarters, said: "The number of votes for the CPP rose in every province even though the increase varied from one province to another." Yim Sovan, the SRP spokesman, noted that his party had only two seats in the outgoing Senate.

The CPP and SRP were the only two parties to field candidates in the election for the Senate, the third since the upper house was established to resolve a political crisis that followed elections for the National Assembly in 1998.

The ruing party held a majority of almost two thirds in the outgoing senate with 45 seats. Funcinpec, the royalist party which has since split but still governs in a nominal coalition with the CPP, had 21 seats including two voted by the National Assembly. Since it didn't field candidates in Sunday's election, both the CPP and SRP expected to gain.

The preliminary results Sunday showed the CPP winning 8,880 votes of the 11,412 valid votes counted with the SRP getting 2,503 votes, the NEC said. A spokesman said some of the completed ballots were invalid.

Voter turnout among the those eligible to cast ballots was 99.6 per cent. The NEC said 46 of the the eligible 11,470 members of Commune Councils and the National Assembly did not vote.

After voting closed at 3 pm, the NEC said the elections had been held in a safe and secure environment.

Cambodia is scheduled to hold commune elections in June ahead of national parliamentary elections in 2013.
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