Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thaksin not to reside in Cambodia: Thai opposition leader


BANGKOK, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra refused to permanently reside in Cambodia as he did not want to create problem to Thailand, opposition Puea Thai Party Chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyuth said Saturday.

"I asked him through people close him why he did not stay in Cambodia as it is near home and family, Thaksin said that he did not want to create problem," the INN news agency quoted Chavalit, deputy prime minister in Thaksin's administration as saying.

It was a test of Thaksin's thought, he said.

Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in September 2006 and has been in exile since then. In February 2008, Thaksin returned to Thailand to face corruption charges but later went to exile again and was convicted in absentia.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told reporters during the recent 15th ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit at Thailand's central beach resort of Hua Hin that Cambodiawould not hand over Thaksin to Thailand if Thailand sought his extradition.

Hun Sen also said that he could appoint Thaksin as his economic advisor.

The opposition party chairman said that he is planning to visit neighboring country of Malaysia in mid-November and visit Myanmar after that.

"I have known Gen Than Shwe (Myanmar top leader) for quite a long time and he can help improve relations between Thailand and Myanmar," he said.

Over the criticism that he was trying to discredit the government and to help Thaksin, Chavalit said if someone wants to do a big thing, he must be able to stand for such a negative criticism.

Also on Saturday, Thailand's Attorney-General Julasingh Wasantsingh said that Cambodia reserves the rights to refuse to extradite Thaksin if he stays in the neighboring country, but substantial grounds must be provided.

Editor: Li Xianzhi

Cambodia gives big boost to military budget

By Ek Madra

PHNOM PENH, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Cambodia, one of Southeast Asia's poorest countries, plans to boost defense and security spending by 23 percent next year, its budget showed on Saturday, raising the prospect of a clash with the IMF.

Cambodia plans to spend $274 million on defense and security next year, up from $223 million this year, the budget showed. The total budget for calendar 2010 was $1.97 billion, which meant the military was allocated about 14 percent of total spending.

That compares with 1.7 percent spent on agriculture, the backbone of Cambodia's economy, and 0.7 percent on water resources. About 1.7 percent was set aside for rural development.Military spending is a sensitive topic in Cambodia because of the millions of dollars of donor money flowing into the country, largely to social programmes.

"This big budget for defense is meant for preventative measures in response to international conflicts," said government spokesman Phay Siphan.

Siphan said the spending was unrelated to tensions with neighbouring Thailand over land surrounding a 900-year-old, cliff-top Hindu temple known as Preah Vihear. Skirmishes in the border area have killed seven troops in the past year.

Thailand is challenging a U.N. decision to make the temple a world heritage site under Cambodian jurisdiction. Cambodia was awarded the temple in a 1962 international court ruling that did not determine who owns 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) next to it.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) criticised Cambodia last year for its military spending, leading the Cambodian government to cut back its defense budget during a debate in parliament after questioning by the IMF.

"Donors will not be happy," Ou Vireak, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said of the latest military budget.

He said Prime Minister Hun Sen was likely trying to whip up nationalist support by projecting an image of a strong military at a time of heightened tension with Thailand."By doing so, he is turning the country effectively into a military state," he said.
(Editing by Jason Szep and Dean Yates)

Vietnam condemns acts hindering border demarcation with Cambodia

Source: Nhan Dan (Ha Noi)

The Vietnamese Government strongly condemned acts and statements made by Sam Rainsy, President of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) of Cambodia, who recently uprooted land markers on the Vietnam-Cambodia border, said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson on October 30.

Sam Rainsy on October 25 visited the border demarcation area between Vietnam’s southern province of Long An and Svay Rieng province of Cambodia and uprooted six temporary poles that mark the position of Marker 185 and then brought them to Phnom Penh. Sam Rainsy also made statements slandering Vietnam as encroaching on the land of Cambodia through the border demarcation and marker planting.

In response to questions from the media about Vietnam’s reaction to Sam Rainsy’s acts and statements, spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Nga said that “ Vietnam and Cambodia are promptly conducting borderline demarcation and planting border markers. Protection of land markers and poles is the shared obligation of the two countries’ governments and people, in accordance with bilateral agreements and international law.”

What Sam Rainsy did was a perverse action, damaging common property, violating both countries’ laws, and bilateral treaties and agreements, hindering the borderline demarcating and marker planting process, she emphasised.

Sam Rainsy’s speeches slandering Vietnam were ill-informed, irresponsible and designed to incite a feud, undermining the relationship between Vietnam and Cambodia, she added.

The Vietnamese government urged the Cambodian government to take due measures to deal with sabotage acts, ensuring favourable conditions for conducting borderline demarcation and marker planting between Vietnam and Cambodia, and for the common benefit of both peoples, Nga concluded. (VNA)

Anger over Vietnam/Cambodia border action

Source: australianetworknews

Vietnam has condemned Cambodia's opposition leader for uprooting posts marking the border between the two countries, asking Phnom Penh to protect the nations' sensitive demarcation process.

Sam Rainsy has reportedly removed six markers at the Vietnam border in Cambodia's southeastern Svay Rieng province, alleging they'd been illegally placed by Vietnamese authorities.

Vietnam's foreign ministry has called the opposition leader's act perverse - undermining common assets, violating laws of Cambodia and Vietnam, treaties, agreements and deals between the two countries.

Cambodia and Vietnam officially began demarcating their contentious border in September 2006, in a bid to end decades of territorial disputes

Nationalist: Who do not be arrested by Vietnamese Authorities are working for Vietnam

Newspaper section: Opinion
by Monikhemra Chao

I always hear the Khmer Krom Nationalist say that Khmer Krom who are staying in abroad, especially they have fled to Cambodia or Thailand whenever they visit to homeland (South Vietnam), but they do not be arrested by Vietnamese Authorities mean they are working for Vietnam (Spy).

At the first time when i hear these mentions, i think that it is simple because these peoples do not understand the political science, especially the politic art of Vietnamese Communist Regime.

Before here, there are many peoples who have fled from Kampuchea-Krom to Cambodia because they could not live with Vietnamese, or were threatened, arrested, and wana to kill , which reason they stand up for rights, demanding for their homelands, Religious Freedom and land confication...When they were living in their homeland (Kampuchea-Krom/South Vietnam), they seem being "Nationalist-Dare adhere for their homeland-Dare stand up peacefully any time and truely with each other...". But it is regretable because when they have arrived Cambodia, they forgot something behind and they still give to go on on their homeland. On the contrast, they try to do not confide each other so that they tell that "Who fled to Cambodia, when they visit to homeland, but Vietnamese Authorities do not arrest mean they are working for Vietnamese Government..."

All of these sentences make me sad, and i think that my Nationalist start practicing the discrimination which I know that is Vietnamese Communist Regime Style.

One month ago, I know some Khmer Krom Buddhist Monks (Refugees) had visited homeland. Somes just were invited to Commune to ask something by Vietnamese Authorities. Somes were be threatened for doing as spy for Vietnamese Government, but Somes do not be invited or threatened at all.

Just these Vietnamese Authorities Art, it makes Khmer Krom lose confidence each other, and they start going on their groups, Associations, or provinces...They do not combine as they have ever.

Anyway, I would like to say that it is untrue if someone judges somebody by the cover. The important, they are all Nationalist, they have obligation to save their homeland, to demand their rights for their homeland, to make for the World to know that Who are Khmer Krom? Where is Kampuchea-Krom? And what are they needing...? So, please think again and make right it!

I would like to add comment that Noone loves Khmer Krom as Khmer Krom love Khmer Krom. If the Khmer Krom unite, Khmer Krom will win. But if Khmer Krom lose confident and just think about their benefit, Khmer Krom will be lost...

Finally, I wish All Khmer Krom should understand the real situation in Kampuchea-Krom. Importantly the real situation of Khmer Krom who are living under controlling of Vietnamese Communist Government. I have heard , known, and seen that everyone struggle, brave, and can do something (NOT EVERYTHING) for homeland, but if you want to know that you love your homeland or not, you brave or not, you dare adhere or not; You should ask yourself first that Dare you visit to your homeland or not? If you say someone visits to homeland, but they do not be threatened by Vietnamese Authorities mean they are working as Spy for Vietnam, lease again and give them chance. Please do not mention that Tim Sakhorn is working for Vietnamese Communist Government while he ever said something, he was being in prision.

Whenever you break, you will lose!!!
Strongly call on UNITING!!!

Any comment, please send to:

P. Penh 'must justify refusal'

Source: Bangkokpost

Cambodia has the legal right to reject Thai requests for the extradition of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra if he sets foot there, but Phnom Penh must justify any such decision, says Attorney-General Chulasingh Vasantasingh.

Mr Chulasingh made the remark in response to the recent announcement by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen that he would not extradite Thaksin to Thailand if the convicted former premier moved to Cambodia.

Thailand and Cambodia have signed an extradition treaty, but either government has the right not to approve an extradition request, Mr Chulasingh said.

Any refusal to extradite a criminal under the treaty's terms must be given an explanation that meets international standards, he said.

If Thai authorities are informed that Thaksin is residing in Cambodia the Office of the Attorney-General will seek his extradition, if asked to do so by police and the Foreign Ministry.

Care must be taken not to overreact to Hun Sen's recent remarks about Thaksin, warned Chart Thai Pattana Party spokesman Watchara Kannikar.

The government and the Foreign Ministry should not respond aggressively to the comments, or stir up nationalism, either of which could worsen bilateral relations, Mr Watchara said.

He also urged Puea Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh to remember when engaging in negotiations and political activity that he is Thai.

Gen Chavalit made a trip to Cambodia on Oct 21 where he met Hun Sen.

He said the trip was a private effort to help improve relations with Cambodia which have soured over the Preah Vihear temple dispute. But critics said the visit was a move to discredit the Democrat-led government.

Vietnam War exhibit opens Nov. 2 at Easton Library

A photo from the Vietnam War by Robert Bracci.

A comprehensive compilation of three-dimensional combat art miniatures as well as a selection of original photography from the Vietnam War by Robert D. Bracci will be on exhibit Nov. 2 to 30 in the Easton Public Library showcase.

The exhibit is titled Vietnam: Fragments and Images — The Brutal Illusion Revisited. Bracci served with the U.S. Army’s 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1970 and 1971.

An art miniature from the Vietnam War by Robert Bracci.

According to an artist’s statement, “Within these cased vignettes and dioramas, the artist portrays a diverse array of visual essays and scenarios focusing upon the American military experience in Vietnam — in some instances drawing from personal recollections of his own 13-month tour ‘in-country.’”

Bracci said the exhibit should allow people not only to better understand “the Vietnam experience,” but come face-to-face with some of the deep emotions and sensibilities that those who were there endured.

Some of the pieces in the exhibit portray routine day-to-day activity, he said, while others “project intensely profound feelings of pathos, despair and, in some instances, the horror of armed conflict — encapsulated in a moment in time.”

The exhibit is dedicated to all POWs and MIAs, as well as to the memory of those veterans of Vietnam who failed to return to “the world,” Bracci said.

Vietnam, Cambodia plan new air routes


Vietnam and Cambodia are planning to open two routes linking the coastal city of Sihanoukville in Cambodia with Phu Quoc Island and Can Tho city in the south of Vietnam.

Experts said that the new air routes will help create an attractive tourism triangle, facilitating the promising service sector of the two countries.

According to Undersecretary of the State at the Secretariat of Civil Aviation of Cambodia (SSCA), Soy Sokhan, SSCA and Vietnam Airlines are conducting a feasibility study for the two new routes.

Chairman of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents Ho Vandy said both Phu Quoc island in Kien Giang province and Can Tho city are attractive tourism centres in Vietnam.

Once launched, the weekly flights will help transport a large number of foreign tourists to Cambodia, he added.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Friday, October 30, 2009

Vietnam re-exports 20,000T of wire rod to Cambodia, VN Steel

30 October 2009
Source: metalbulletin (Singapore)

Vietnam has re-exported about 20,000 tonnes of wire rod in the past week to Cambodia amid weak domestic demand, estimated Vietnam Steel Corp (VN Steel) marketing director Dao Dinh Dong.

Despite this, traders in Vietnam are estimated to be still holding on to 30,000-40,000 tonnes of imported wire rod, a high level, he said. Cheaper imports from China and Malaysia...

Vietnam, Cambodia police step up anti-crime co-operation

Nhan Dan

Vietnamese and Cambodian policemen are mulling over agreements on criminal justice support and extradition to enable the creation of a full-fledged legal foundation for their joint efforts to fight crime.

Meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on October 29, they assessed what they have gained in the fight against cross-border crime and identified specific areas that need to be stepped up in future.

Minister of Public Security Gen. Le Hong Anh highly valued close and effective co-operation between Vietnamese and Cambodian police in fighting criminals and maintaining social order and safety.’

The Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security has reinforced co-operation with the Cambodian Ministry of the Interior and the National Police of Cambodia, on helping manage the increasing crime rate in both countries,’ General Anh said.

He said he hoped bilateral co-operation in the field would be conducted more closely and effectively in the coming time.Addressing the meeting, State Secretary of the Cambodian Ministry of the Interior Gen. Em Sam An, admitted that transnational crimes have adversely impacted security in localities along both nations’ borders.

He underlined the urgent need to beef up bilateral co-operation in maintaining social order and security in the two countries.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security put forward orientations to step up co-operation with the Cambodian National Police in the 2009-2010 period, including increasing the sharing of information on crime, especially transnational crime.

It proposed that Vietnamese and Cambodian police intensify collaboration to promptly address issues arising from the two countries’ enforcement of their laws and their maintenance of social order and security.

It also proposed that Vietnamese police assist in the organisation of anti-crime training courses for their Cambodian colleagues.

The Vietnamese side suggested the establishment of flexible but effective co-operation at all levels, particularly in localities sharing the borderline, to handle complicated issues relating to security and social order.

The ministry also suggested the opening of police liaison offices in each other’s countries to aid the promotion of bilateral co-operation in the field.

The Ministry of Public Security reported that crime along the Vietnam-Cambodia border is very complicated, ranging from drug-related crimes and the trafficking of women, to the illegal arms trade, smuggling, gambling, robbery, and illegal immigration.

In 2008 and the first nine months of this year, police uncovered 1,893 cases of smuggling involving over VND 93.5 billion in goods and brought to light dozens of cases of trafficking in women and children in areas along the common border.

They arrested 43 people belonging to 12 criminal rings involved in stealing motorbikes in Vietnam and transporting them to Cambodia.

Police from the ten Vietnamese and Cambodian provinces have jointly investigated 569 drug-related cases, arresting 1,085 people and seizing 4.76 kg of heroin and 395.7 kg of marijuana. (VNA)

Hun Sen, Thaksin and corrupt coalitions

By Frank G. Anderson
Column: Thai Traditions

Nakhonratchasima, Thailand — Last April the Bangkok Post, Thailand’s English-language daily, ran an article passing on a “leak” from the Royal Thai Air Force that it had tracked former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s private jet as it crossed the border into Cambodia, once each at Phnom Penh and Koh Kong.

At the time, Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh denied any contact between Cambodia and Thaksin. He rhetorically asked why Thaksin would want to come to Cambodia, and added that his country could do nothing to help the fugitive prime minister. He also said, "I have never seen Thaksin come here to Cambodia.”

So perhaps a few eyebrows were raised when Cambodia’s prime minister indicated in late October that he had a warm place in his heart for Thaksin.

Hun Sen, as he arrived in Thailand on Oct. 23 for the latest ASEAN summit, loudly proclaimed that Thaksin was welcome in his country and that he would not extradite him to Thailand if so requested by Thai authorities. He even pointed out that Article 3 of a Thai-Cambodian extradition treaty prohibits the extradition of those accused of political offenses. He went further to suggest that he would appoint the fugitive to be his economic adviser.

In response, Thailand’s current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva politely but pointedly told the Cambodian leader that he should not let himself be used as a pawn, but should work with other ASEAN members to meet the organization’s goals.

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thuagsuban subsequently had a two-hour talk with Hun Sen explaining the Thai government’s position regarding Thaksin. Suthep came out of the meeting publicly confident that Hun Sen would not make any more such comments. Perhaps privately he knew better.

According to claims by the anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy, the ousted prime minister had already established friendly relations – allegedly in the form of personal financial benefits – with the Cambodian government in parlaying Thai sovereignty over the temple of Khao Phreah Vihear that sits on the two countries’ border for offshore oil concessions from Cambodia, that Thaksin would allegedly benefit from.

Hun Sen’s apparent disregard for Thailand’s sensitivities is not really all that difficult to understand. Like Europe and other countries that considered hypocritical certain policies by the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, so too it is likely that Cambodia feels Thailand is hypocritical – saying one thing but doing quite another.

Thai people, unsurprisingly, have different opinions concerning Hun Sen’s comments in support of Thaksin, but most appear to be critical. One pro-PAD activist, in fact, threatened to lead a large group of protesters to surround the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok, mostly because of the Khao Phreah Vihear temple dispute, but also because of what is viewed as Cambodian government interference in domestic Thai politics.

One protest leader who did demonstrate against the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok said, “Hun Sen's action intentionally showed hostility to Thailand, its government and its military as well as the Thai people. It is interference in Thai politics.”

As if for Thailand to further shoot itself in the foot over the issue of handing Cambodia hundreds of acres of land around Khao Phreah Vihear, Thai TV viewers were treated to a speech by Lt. Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, an army specialist and flamboyant individualist, in a recent TV interview.

When asked about the real problem behind the Khao Phreah Vihear issue and why the army could not resolve what Thailand views as seizure of its territory, Sawasdipol replied, “The army … it’s a ‘play golf’ army, ‘country club’ type. That’s why.” This is the same man who had earlier helped train guards for the pro-Thaksin Red Shirts until told by his superiors to stop, and who had allegedly been involved in violence against the People’s Alliance for Democracy in 2008.

Thailand’s relations with its “friendly neighboring countries” Cambodia, Burma, Laos and Malaysia have been traditionally less than ideal – for the majority of people in each nation, that is. But for business and political sleight-of-hand on both sides, the relationship has been very lucrative. Thaksin and look-alike “investors” gained immense fortunes through various deals with all these countries, including telecommunications contracts, oil concessions, lumber operations, construction and more.

For his part, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has his hands full keeping together a weak political coalition that has been described as one where everyone gets what he wants, and may abandon the ship, sinking the coalition, if he doesn’t.

This coalition includes Pranawm Phokham, parliamentarian from Nakhonratchasima and board member of the Motherland Party, which is composed of both pro- and anti-Thaksin members. A glittering example of the fruit of Pranawm’s labor during his political life includes a multimillion dollar resort home, now under construction near a controversial forestry reserve region of Wang Nam Khiew in Nakhonratchasima province.

Pranawm was one of 28 members of parliament who voted for Abhisit to become prime minister. Quid pro quo for Pranawm may include Thailand’s own version of its U.S. counterpart, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

(Frank G. Anderson is the Thailand representative of American Citizens Abroad. He was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer to Thailand from 1965-67, working in community development. A freelance writer and founder of northeast Thailand's first local English language newspaper, the Korat Post – – he has spent over eight years in Thailand "embedded" with the local media. He has an MBA in information management and an associate degree in construction technology. ©Copyright Frank G. Anderson.)

Cambodian beggars in HCM City

Cambodian child beggars in HCM City.

VietNamNet Bridge – A small group of Cambodian child beggars have appeared in HCM City in recent months.

At 6pm at a crossroads on Dien Bien Phu street, three kids in ragged and dirty clothes, holding plastic bowls stand at traffic lights asking for small change.

The two older children collect the cash while a much younger child lies naked on the pavement.

They eventually disperse when they hear a police whistle. Next day they are back – but this time the group includes six children and two women.

The two women sat on the pavement while six children divided into three groups, work around the roundabout of Dien Bien Phu street.

From asking around reporters traced them back to a marshy piece of land along the Nguyen Huu Tho road, District 7, which looks like a dumping ground. There are several tents made of coconut leaves and a small house.

Local residents say the house owner pitied the children so he allowed them to live in the house free. They also said that there are over 50 Cambodian people who have been living in this area for around 7 months.

A Cambodian man, who can speak a little Vietnamese, told VietNamNet that they came from Cambodia and they often return home each 3-4 months.

These Cambodian earn their living by collecting waste and begging.

Local government has several times sent them back home but they returned, said Tran Mong Thanh, chairman of Tan Hung ward. Thanh said there are many other Cambodians in HCM City, not only in his ward.

Mai Thi Hoa from the HCM City Department of War Invalids and Social Affairs said that under the HCM City’s regulations, all beggars will be gathered at social patronage centres and then be sent back to their homes.

Tu Truc

In Cambodia, a Threatened Tribe of Islam

By Brendan B Brady

UDONG - Imam San was perhaps once Cambodia's most privileged Muslim. Legend has it that in the 19th century, former King Ang Duong encountered him meditating in the forest and was so captivated by the stranger's spirituality that he offered him land in the royal capital.

A more cynical account relates that the Khmer royal family, at a time when its power was dwindling, found a ready and willing ally in the Muslim leader.

On the occasion of Imam San's birthday each October, the sect that emerged from his early followers gathers in the former royal city of Udong, about 30 kilometers outside of the present capitalof Phnom Penh, to honor his memory through prayer and offerings. The colorful mawlut ceremony reaffirms the sect's privileged heritage and its continued isolation from the rest of the country's Islamic community, which is dominated by a group known as the Cham.

The Imam San followers are the only group to remain outside the domain of the Mufti, the government-sanctioned leader of Islam in Cambodia - a status that was renewed by the government in 1988. Successive Imam San leaders, or Ong Khnuur, have held the prestigious title of Okhna, originally bestowed by the palace. Cambodia's estimated 37,000 Imam San followers live in only a few dozen villages spread throughout the country. Geography has reinforced the sect's isolation, and the mawlut has become an increasingly important opportunity to forge friendships and - more essential to the survival of the community - marriages.

At the annual ceremony, parents search for eligible suitors for their children, who otherwise would not come in contact with teenagers and young adults from other Imam San communities. The day's use for matchmaking may have new importance as the sect's long-standing isolation is challenged by pressures from Cambodia's larger Islamic community as well as from abroad.

Many Imam San followers see their sect's relationship with other Muslims as the biggest threat to their way of life, as their most vehement critics come from within their faith. For Ek Bourt, an elder member of the Imam San community, it is discrimination from other Muslims that he fears most.

"Other Muslims look down on us since we practice our religion in a different way," he said. "I'm afraid the next generation might lose our unique culture and customs."

The pilgrimage to Udong's Phnom Katera - a site of great importance for Khmers' Buddhist and royal traditions - highlights what some other Muslims see as the Imam San community's unholy cultural proximity to mainstream Khmer society. Conspicuously, the mosque on Phnom Katera is adjacent to the tombs of former Khmer kings and its name, "The Islam Cham Temple of Imam San", is written in Khmer, Cham and English, but not Arabic.

Purity perceptions
Descendants of the Cham Bani from Vietnam, who converted to Islam in the 17th century, Imam San followers view themselves as devoted adherents of the Muslim faith even as they maintain religious and cultural practices that are viewed by some as at odds with Islamic teachings. Because they blend faith in the Koran with other religious customs, including animist-like ceremonies, the Imam San followers are seen by many other Muslims as impure.

Perhaps no tradition of the Imam San community is more offensive to critics than praying only once a week, while praying five times a day is standard practice for most Muslims.

And none is more bizarre than the chai ceremony, in which they dance in a possessed state, sometimes carrying prop weapons. In fact, about 85% of Muslims consider the Imam San followers to be so heterodox as not to qualify as Muslims, according to a study by Norwegian Bjorn Blengsli, who has studied Muslims in Cambodia for nearly a decade.

"They're not true followers of Mohammed," said Hussein Bin Ibrahim, a Salafi Muslim who lives in Phnom Penh. "They don't really count as Muslims. For Muslims like us in Cambodia, our Islam is now becoming more like the Islam in Arab countries. We have grown closer to Mecca." Hussein prays in the outskirts of Phnom Penh at the Norul Ehsan mosque, which was recently renovated with funds from Kuwait.

Most of Cambodia's Muslims are ethnically Cham, whose practices have traditionally been moderate. But the last several years have seen a rise of fundamentalism in the Cham community, most notably of Wahhabism, an austere form of Islam originating from Saudi Arabia.

Growing economic ties between Cambodia and Arab countries suggest the trend will only strengthen. Last year, after making high-level state visits, Kuwait and Qatar pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in soft loans to Cambodia for agricultural development. The aid sparked concerns among some Western officials that the money could be used not just to invigorate Cambodia's farming, but also to radicalize its Muslims. "There are some organizations here from the Middle East that are very radical and that are very intolerant, and they are trying very hard to change the attitude and the atmosphere of the Muslim population here in Cambodia," said then-outgoing American Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli in his farewell speech to reporters in August 2008.

The primary focus of the most recent state visits has been trade. Yet cultural ties are also at stake: Kuwait pledged some $5 million for Cambodian Islamic institutions, including renovating the dilapidated International Dubai Mosque in Phnom Penh.

Economic ties with Arab countries will reverberate in Islamic practices in Cambodia, according to Blengsli. "Economic ties between Cambodia and Arab countries will lead to more funding for Islamic organisations in Cambodia and, since they are often unhappy with the purity of Islam as its practiced here, there will be increasing Arab influence on local Muslim practices," he said.

Islamic revivalism
The penetration of Islamic missionaries, as well as development and educational organizations into Cambodia, is problematic because of the separation from other cultures these groups encourage, according to Alberto Perez, a Spanish anthropologist who is writing his PhD dissertation on the Cham.

The Imam San community has been further estranged amid a wave of Islamic revivalism embraced by the majority of Cambodia's nearly 350,000 Muslims. In the past, Imam San followers have rejected donations from wealthy Middle East-based Islamic groups and resisted pressure from foreign preachers, whose requests that they convert to orthodox Islam are frequently backed by offers to finance the construction of new mosques.

But this long-maintained separation is weakening under the same foreign influences that, according to Blengsli, have made Cambodia's mainstream Muslims one of the fastest-changing Islamic communities in the world. The Imam San community is losing numbers to other Muslim sects, including the Salafi, Jamaat Tabligh and Ahmadiyya, which have international standing and deeper pockets, he said. In particular, young Imam San followers who are sent to Phnom Penh to continue their studies face pressure from other Muslim communities to convert to orthodox Islam.

"We're especially afraid that the young will be tempted to join other groups that are well-funded," said Kai Tam, the Imam San's current Ong Khnuur. But such concerns would not have him change his group's practices.

"Our people are strong because we believe in our ancestors and we believe in their culture and the way they practiced Islam - to change would be an insult to our ancestors. We have the same goal as other Muslims, but we get there a different way."

Ahmad Yahya, president of the Cambodian Islamic Development Association and an advisor to the government on Cham issues, has said that Imam San followers should break their isolation and reform their observance. Yahya has aggressively solicited foreign funding for Cambodian Muslims to continue their studies locally and abroad, and he believes Iman San followers should make the changes necessary to avail themselves of such opportunities.

Indeed, some Imam San villages have begun praying five times a day as a compromise to foreign donors who have financed new mosques for them. But for 19-year-old Keu Sarath, whose home is in the same village as the Ong Khnuur's, her faith in the way of her ancestors has not wavered.

"We love God just the same as others," she said. "But we don't tell others how to practice and they should show us the same respect."

Brendan B Brady is a freelance journalist based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Vietnam, Cambodia police join hands in anti-crime efforts


Vietnamese and Cambodian policemen are mulling over agreements on criminal justice support and extradition to create a full-fledged legal foundation for their cooperation in fighting crime.

In a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on October 29, they assessed their achievements in the fight against cross-border crime and identified specific areas that need further cooperation in future.

Minister of Public Security Le Hong Anh praised close and effective cooperation between Vietnamese and Cambodian police in fighting criminals and maintaining social order and safety. He expressed his hope that the two sides would cooperate more closely and effectively in the coming time.

Addressing the meeting, State Secretary of the Cambodian Ministry of the Interior Em Sam An admitted that transnational crimes have had an adverse impact on security in localities along both nations’ borders. He underscored the urgent need to beef up bilateral cooperation in maintaining social order and security in the two countries.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security underscored orientations for cooperation with the Cambodian National Police in the 2009-2010 period, including the sharing of information on transnational crime, and addressing issues arising from the two countries’ law enforcement. It also proposed that Vietnamese police help organize anti-crime training courses for their Cambodian colleagues.

The Vietnamese side proposed flexible and effective cooperation at all levels, particularly in border areas, to tackle complicated issues concerning national security and social order.The Vietnamese ministry also suggested the opening of police liaison offices in the other country to boost bilateral cooperation.

Thaksin denies he's off to Cambodia

Source: Bangkokpost

Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra early on Friday denied a media report that he will go to Cambodia to celebrate Loy Krathong and to thank Cambodian leader Hun Sen for his promise not to allow his extradition to Thailand.

“I will not go to Cambodia and will stay here in a Muslim country,” Thaksin said on his twitter@thaksinlive website.

The ex-premier said that from Nov 1 he will be able to directly contact Thai people via SMS. “If you want to discuss economic matters, lock on to 'follow' in 'thaksinbiz'.''

Regarding his loss of his police rank, Thaksin said it was now clear that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is a supporter of the People’s Alliance for Democracy.

Citing Puea Thai MP for Samut Prakarn Pracha Prasopdee, most local dailies reported on Friday morning that Thaksin will on Nov 2 travel by his personal jet to Cambodia.

Mr Abhisit on Thursday reaffirmed that if Thaksin does turn up in Cambodia his government would seek his extradition.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Puea Thai: Thaksin being persecuted

Source: Bangkokpost

It’s hard for the government to deny that stripping deposed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra of his police rank is political persecution, opposition Puea Thai Party deputy leader Kanawat Wasinsangvorn said on Thursday.

“Considering the ongoing political situation, most people believe Thaksin is being persecuted in order to reduce his credibility,” Mr Kanawat said.

The former premier was being discredited because Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was suffering continual setbacks.

“Lately, Mr Abhisit had lost face as five leaders of member countries did not show up at the opening ceremony of the Asean summit in Hua Hin last weekend,” he said.

In addition, the prime minister had destroyed previously good relations with Cambodia by using strong words in an interview in retaliation for the Cambodian prime minister's statements about Thaksin.

He claimed that Mr Abhisit was not acceptable to many leaders of Asean. The premier also lost face when a recent poll results showed that he was less popular than Thaksin.

Mr Kanawat said the continuing political retaliation will only escalate the problem of social divisions, and lead to violent confrontation.

He called on Mr Abhisit to be patient and use the limited time he had left in office to perform his duty, rather than playing political games.

He suggested the prime minister quickly settle the problems behind the train strike that inconvenienced so many passengers and the investment impasse in Rayong’s Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, which he said was destroying investor confidence.

Nation continues to dominate investment in Laos


VietNamNet Bridge – Viet Nam continued to lead the list of foreign investors in Laos with a total registered capital of US$1.4 billion during the first nine months of this year, according to the Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment.

China ranked second with $932 million, followed by Thailand and the Republic of Korea. The Lao government forecasts that foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the country were likely to increase despite the global economic downturn.

Somvang Ninthavong, commercial counsellor at the Lao Embassy in Viet Nam, said the Lao government would continue to work on improving conditions for Vietnamese investors coming to Laos to seek investment opportunities.

Doan Nguyen Duc, chairman of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Co which has to date pumped $260 million into seven projects in Laos, said the nation provided several advantages to Vietnamese investors.

Laos' favourable geographic location and investment incentives, especially in preferential tax rates, constituted a huge advantage for Vietnamese firms looking to invest abroad, Duc said.

Duc urged Vietnamese businesses to quickly invest in prioritised Lao sectors, especially if they didn't want to lag behind enterprises from China, Thailand and South Korea. However, complicated administrative procedures and a lack of skilled workers remained problematic for investors, he noted.

Nguyen Minh Tu, vice chairman of the Viet Nam-Laos-Cambodia Association for Economic Co-operation and Development, said Vietnamese firms should study Lao laws and trade policies, and study the market to draw up business strategies to better tap the Lao market.

The vice chairman said Vietnamese firms should strive for close co-operation with Lao counterparts and research financial capacities and labour resources before doing business in Laos.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

After two summits, farther away from a community

Source: Bangkokpost

Despite unsurprising official spins to the contrary, Thailand's chairmanship and hosting of Asean has fallen well short of expectations. On the one hand, it turned out to be a casualty of Thailand's domestic political crisis and confrontation. On the other, Asean's longstanding structural constraints, underpinned by internal shortcomings and external challenges, were underlined yet again.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations will now have to regroup and reaffirm commitments to the Asean Charter over the months leading up to the 16th summit, hosted by Vietnam next year. Without persuasive results, the charter will be seen merely as a runaway vision trying to keep up with the outside world but constrained from within, a hollow entity driven by rhetoric and increasingly bypassed by the international community.

That all of the summitry proceedings actually transpired last weekend should spell relief for both Thailand and the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

To put Asean inner-workings on a calendar year, Thailand was handed the alphabetically rotating chairmanship not for the usual 12 but 18 months.

The unprecedented duration was seen as commensurate with Thailand's role as founding member and Asean's birthplace, and was premised on renowned Thai hospitality and proven ability to put on pomp and ceremony.

The 18-month stint was crucial for Asean as it rolled out its much-vaunted charter, a regional constitution of sorts that is supposed to chart the course for the regional organisation in the next decade and beyond.

But Thailand's chairmanship has not paid off. The two summits under its tenure were fraught with uncertainty and instability.

The first, or Asean's 14th, was supposed to take place in December 2008 in Bangkok. But it was rescheduled for Chiang Mai amid domestic political turmoil and then postponed altogether due to the Constitution Court's dissolution of the People Power Party and consequent collapse of the Somchai Wongsawat government.

The Abhisit government was able to convene the 14th Asean summit in Cha-am in February this year but not the normally back-to-back 4th East Asia Summit (EAS), which was delayed, moved to Pattaya and eventually greeted by the Songkran riots in April.

Putting off the EAS until last weekend has meant that its 4th summit has taken two years to convene.

Moreover, the 15th Asean summit got off on a slippery footing when four of the heads of state and government did not turn up at the official opening, apparently for reasons of poor communication and planning by the host rather than deliberate disregard by the guests.

The massive security blanket in and around the meeting areas, backed by the Internal Security Act, were not conducive to a summitry atmosphere.

Notwithstanding significant sideline agreements on functional cooperation and Asean-related summits with individual and a group of members of the EAS, the 15th Asean summit was highlighted by three key outcomes that reflected Thailand's problematic chairmanship and Asean's structural challenges.

The first took place near the outset when representatives of Asean's civil society organisations aborted their interface with the Asean leaders.

These CSO representatives were vetted and drawn from a wide-ranging Asean Peoples' Forum that preceded the summit. Five Asean governments objected to as many CSO representatives from their respective countries, and attempted to insert their own government choices among the CSO line-up.

Such a move betrayed the goodwill and early momentum generated at the previous interface between Asean CSOs and Asean heads in February, when two representatives from Burma and Cambodia gave up their places at the table to appease their governments in exchange for recognition and a separate meeting with PM Abhisit and Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya.

The understanding among CSOs then was to take a half step forward rather than to disengage in favour of a fuller step at the next interface.

In view of the five Asean governments' rejections, the remaining CSO representatives' walkout of the interface was understandable.

It was a brinkmanship that would have either undercut the Asean leaders' credibility or the Asean CSOs' resolve. In the end, the Asean leaders' credibility and the legitimacy of their so-called "people-centred" charter suffered conspicuously. It dampened the launch of the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, eight representatives of which will be government appointees. Only Thailand and Indonesia, with domestic human rights commissions, will be represented by autonomous, non-government members. Evidently, Asean is still much more about government preferences than peoples' concerns, undermining core tenets of its charter on civil liberties, fundamental freedoms and good governance.

The second takeaway from the summits was the Thai-Cambodian spat between Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Abhisit government. PM Hun Sen overstepped both legal and diplomatic boundaries by pledging not to extradite fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra when extradition proceedings had not even begun. The Cambodian leader also blatantly took sides in Thailand's deeply divided body politic by backing Mr Thaksin, offering the latter sanctuary and an advisory position.

But PM Abhisit should also own up to his misjudgement in appointing a foreign minister who publicly resorted to name-calling the Cambodian PM. With a foreign minister who came with so much liability, it would have been naive to expect Thai-Cambodian relations to be smooth.

The Abhisit government also has done little to rein in right-wing groups from inflaming the Preah Vihear controversy by exploiting nationalism, chauvinism and xenophobia. And no doubt PM Hun Sen saw his verbal offensive as partial payback for Thailand's allowing Sam Rainsy, a Cambodian opposition leader, to launch a tirade against the government in Phnom Penh recently. Under the helpless gaze of other Asean governments, Thai-Cambodian relations will now be rocky indefinitely even after the dust of Thai politics settles.

Third, the lasting impact last weekend was the competing visions of East Asian regionalism going forward. Japan had a new plan but an old name for its regionalisation scheme. The idea of an East Asian community, both with a big "C" and a small "c," has been around for many years.

Tokyo will have to spell out and delineate it with corresponding divisions of labour from the EAS and the Asean Plus Three. Australia's proposal for an Asia-Pacific Community, with a big "C" and a hyphen, harks back to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation framework, plus India, and perhaps the US. How these schemes differ from the EAS and APT need to be defined.

Unsurprisingly, they have received lukewarm responses without much traction in the region.
These new regionalist endeavours, however, do portend a growing frustration with Asean. East Asian regionalism has not gone anywhere because Asean is stuck. Its insisted centrality in East Asia's regionalism has become a stumbling block.

With the outside powers generating new momentum, enthusiasm and direction for East Asia, Asean will be hard pressed to keep up in face of its own internal defects. Much repair work and retooling of the Asean charter are in order if the grouping is to remain relevant to the major powers in the region and the international community beyond.

Press conference by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs

Date: 28 Oct 2009
Lasted update: 29/10/2009
Source: United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI)

The top United Nations humanitarian official today briefed the press at Headquarters on the situations in Yemen, Philippines, Indonesia and Uganda after his recent visits to those countries.
At the outset of his press conference, John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, condemned the suicide bombings and attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan that had taken place earlier this morning, particularly the attack in Kabul, which killed six United Nations staff. He ensured correspondents of the United Nations' determination to continue its work there despite the attacks.

Turning to his recent travels, he said he had visited Yemen to see first-hand the humanitarian consequences of the conflict in the northern part of that country between Government forces and rebels ‑‑ a conflict often neglected by the international community and media. Fighting, particularly intense around Saada City, had resulted in the displacement of some 150,000 people.

Operations were under way to address the needs of the displaced, including providing shelter, clean water, sanitation and health care, he said, but acknowledged his concerns about humanitarian access. He had asked the Government, without success, to declare a humanitarian ceasefire or establish humanitarian corridors. Thus far, 36 per cent of the $24 million flash appeal launched in September by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had been met.

On the Philippines, he said that country had recently suffered two typhoons, resulting in severe flooding that had killed over 800 people and caused enormous amounts of damage. Several areas were still flooded, which carried the risk of outbreaks of communicable diseases. He noted that 30 per cent of the flash appeal for $74 million had been met. A needs assessment, organized with international financial institutions and the private sector, was under way to study the long-term damage, especially in the agricultural sector.

As for the situation in the Indian Ocean, he said that more than 100,000 people had been killed in Western Sumatra, Indonesia, as a result of an earthquake there which damaged some 200,000 houses, as well as schools, hospitals and other public buildings, he said. The Government's response had been well organized and effective. An appeal for $38 million had been poorly funded. A long-term post-disaster needs assessment was under way. He noted that the Lao People's Democratic Republic, likewise affected by the typhoons, had requested humanitarian assistance, and thus far some 38 per cent of an appeal for $10 million had been funded.

In Uganda, he said he had attended the Summit meeting of the African Union which had drawn up a groundbreaking Convention on the Internally Displaced, the "Kampala Convention", which was the first binding regional convention on internally displaced persons. That Convention had not only noted conflict as a cause of displacement but natural disasters as well. It had further drawn attention to the need for long-term solutions for displacement.

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) had been dispersed in Northern Uganda and scattered remnants were now creating havoc in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Southern Sudan, he said. Eighty-five per cent of the some 2 million internally displaced persons had returned, but there was a "residual caseload" of internally displaced persons, mainly elderly or disabled persons, orphaned children, or persons affected by HIV/AIDS, who could not return. The Karamajong region was severely affected by drought and in need of food aid. The issue of long-term food security also had to be addressed.

Answering questions about Yemen, Mr. Holmes said the Government was open to a humanitarian ceasefire or humanitarian corridors, but both parties had to agree to that. For that to happen, contact was necessary with the rebels groups. The Government did not object to such contacts, but they had not yet been organized. Access was easy in some areas, but difficult in other areas because of heavy fighting ‑‑ especially around Saada ‑‑ or because of difficulties with local authorities.

He had not heard that some non-governmental organizations were planning to withdraw their operations from Pakistan or Afghanistan, he said in answer to another question. He would be surprised if that was the case. The United Nations and others were determined to stay. The issue now was to reconcile the need to continue providing assistance with the need for safety of humanitarian workers.

In response to questions about Uganda, he said the returning LRA child abductees had been reintegrated "surprisingly well". Communities had been willing to accept them, realizing that they were victims even though they had been responsible for atrocities. Although 15 per cent of the 2 million internally displaced persons still remained in camps, he expected a surge in returns shortly. There would be a remaining residual 5 per cent, mostly elderly, orphans and HIV-affected people, who would need individual assistance as they could not return on their own.

That was due to the breakdown of the normal dynamics in communities after some 15 years of fighting.

Asked whether the situation in Karamajong was due to climate change or to violence, Mr. Holmes said there had been an age-old tradition in the area of cattle-rustling. That tradition had continued to today, with ever more efficient modern weapons available. Government attempts at disarmament had had some success and the violence had declined. The drought, however, was endemic in the region, resulting in lack of water and grazing opportunities. A long-term solution was necessary to guarantee food security and develop livelihoods.

He said that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had indeed disengaged himself from negotiations with the LRA, but had said he was ready to re-engage if there was anything to re-engage about. A peace agreement had been agreed by negotiators but had not been signed by Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA. He had not shown up at several planned signing ceremonies, perhaps because of an indictment against him from the International Criminal Court.

Addressing a question about the Lao People's Democratic Republic, he said that, although the country did not have a sea coast, it had suffered the constant rains following the typhoons, which had destroyed some 40,000 hectares of rice cultivation, affecting 178,000 people, as well as damaging 32 schools and three hospitals. Viet Nam and Cambodia had also suffered from the typhoons but had not requested international assistance.

Asked about the situation of internally displaced persons in Sri Lanka, he said some 44,000 people had left the camps, and there were plans under way for some 120,000 more to leave. The situation was improving and people were moving swiftly through transit camps.
For information media • not an official record

Thai-Cambodian Tension Tests Claims of Regional Peace

Thursday, October 29, 2009

BANGKOK — The relationship between Southeast Asian neighbors Thailand and Cambodia enters another uneasy stretch following a round of verbal salvoes fired before and during a just concluded regional summit, where much is made of strides in achieving unity.

The Thai media had also stepped into the fray to take on the comments made by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen that appeared to get under the skin of the Thai government, host of the 15th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which ran from Oct. 23-25.

On Tuesday, one Thai commentator described Hun Sen as a "big bully" for the remarks he made just before flying into Cha-am, the resort town south of Bangkok where the Asean summit was held, and soon after he landed.

"Hun Sen Shows Lack of Class and Tact," declared the headline of an editorial in a Sunday newspaper. It seethed with anger about the Cambodian leader's "provocative remarks."

Hun Sen, the region's longest-serving premier, upset the Thais by publicly throwing his weight behind Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Thai premier who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and now living in exile to avoid arrest after being found guilty of violating conflict of interest laws.

Cambodia will offer Thaksin a home, Hun Sen said, before arriving in Cha-am, and then added that Phnom Penh would not extradite the fugitive ex-Thai leader if Bangkok made a request. The increasingly authoritarian Cambodian leader also revealed a role he had for the like-minded Thaksin in the future Cambodia—as an economic advisor.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva shot back. "Don't allow anybody to use you as a pawn," he said at a press conference toward the end of the summit, where the outcome of the 10-member regional bloc was to have been the focus.

"If former prime minister Thaksin moves to Cambodia, it will have an effect on our relationship," said Kasit Piromya, Thai foreign minister, in another press conference.

Both Abhisit and Kasit belong to a coalition government that was formed last year with the backing of Thailand's powerful military. It followed a controversial court verdict that resulted in the collapse of a coalition government of Thaksin's allies, who were elected at a December 2007 poll, the first since the 2006 putsch.

Thaksin has been making desperate bids to return to Thailand or to live in a country closer to home than in the Middle East, where he often resides. But he has made little headway with the members of the 42-year-old Asean due to the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of a member country that binds this 10-member bloc.

Asean, which has just become a new rules-based unified entity, includes Brunei, Burma (or Myanmar), Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, in addition to Thailand and Cambodia.

The war of words that overshadowed the Asean summit added a new twist to an already testy relationship between the two countries that share an 800-kilometre border, much of it being disputed and not clearly marked because Thais and Cambodia use different maps.

The most visible symbol of the underlying tension between the two Southeast Asian kingdoms is a 10th century Hindu temple, Preah Vihear, that sits atop a steep cliff on the Thai-Cambodian border.

The temple was claimed by the French colonists who ruled Cambodia using a disputed 1907 map. After the French left, the Thai troops took over the temple but handed it back to Phnom Penh following a 1962 ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague. Since then troops from both countries have faced each other along the heavily mined border.

Since July last year, Preah Vihear has become a flashpoint, stoked by deep-seated nationalism on both sides. It followed a ruling by the World Heritage Committee that month that recognized the temple as a world heritage site and concurred with the ICJ's ruling that the temple belonged to Cambodia.

Thai nationalists were enraged, prompting both Cambodian and Thailand to reinforce their military strength in the still contested land—some 4.6 square kilometers—surrounding the temple.

In April, the soldiers from both countries exchanged gunfire, leaving three people dead.

Over a month before the recent summit, Hun Sen had ordered Cambodian troops to fire if any Thais crossed the border illegally. Around the same time, in September, members of a right-wing conservative Thai political movement marched to the disputed site to flex their patriotic stripes.

Thailand was put on notice by Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong that Phnom Penh wanted the border dispute placed on the agenda of the 15th Asean summit. But Bangkok rejected the call, insisting that the dispute be addressed through bilateral negotiations than have this issue "internationalized or raised within the Asean framework."

This verbal tit-for-tat even drew Cambodia's envoy in Thailand to comment in the Bangkok Post newspaper on the eve of the summit. "No peace-loving nation on earth like Cambodia wants to make political gains by provoking armed conflict with its neighbors," wrote ambassador You Ay. "The recent tension between the two countries began with the yellow-shirt protesters from Thailand who wanted to enter our Preah Vihear temple."

The simmering tensions between the two Southeastern nations has not gone down well with the rest of Asean, given the bloc's habit of saying it does not need a regional dispute-settling mechanism because the region's leaders are committed to regional peace through local solutions.

Cambodia broke with this tradition last year when the Preah Vihear issue flared up. It reported the dispute to the United Nations Security Council without getting a nod from its Asean allies, prompting Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to warn of the regional bloc's credibility being at stake.

Thai officials are hoping that a quieter approach will help calm tensions between the two countries. "We want people along the border to live peacefully," said Kasit, the Thai foreign minister. "There is a need for civility to forge a relationship and build a relationship as much as possible."

International Olympic Committee members visit Cambodia


PHNOM PENH, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Olivier Niamkey and Farman Haider, from International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) respectively, arrived Tuesday in Cambodia to learn about the development of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), local media reported on Thursday.

They were taken to the Ministry of Tourism, where they listened to a 20-minute presentation by the NOCC on its strategic plans of action, and its strengths and weaknesses, according to the report of the Phnom Penh Post.

Thong Khon, chairman of the NOCC, talked about the development of sports in the Kingdom after a long civil war. He asked for help to arrange scholarships and training for athletes, coaches and sports officials both domestic and abroad.

The NOCC also announced plans to organize the first ever national sports conference. The conference will allow all related parties to exchange ideas and experiences to create the best possible future for Cambodian sports.

Niamkey said that organizations such as the IOC or OCA do not work well if their members lack commitment, especially from sports federations and athletes, adding that he admired the NOCC for creating a marketing and information service in its program.

The IOC official also noted the need for increased participation from local companies to help promote sport in the Kingdom. "Increasing the number of competitions is so important, but without sponsorship we can do nothing," stated Niamkey.

Editor: Anne Tang

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Viet Tien opens first outlet in Cambodia

Mr. Nguyen Duc Giang, general director of Vietnam Garment and Textile Group and chairman of Viet Tien Company, said that the firm has chosen Caja Top Ltd. Company to be the sole distributor of Viet Tien products in Cambodia.

Various products of Viet Tien, from shirts to European-style trousers, shorts, and coats, will be sold in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

Viet Tien and Caja Top also plan to expand sales of Viet Tien products in Cambodia.

Phan Van Kiet, Viet Tien deputy general director said that the company is preparing to open other outlets in Laos in November before moving into Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia in future.

By V.Thy – Translated by Hai Mien

This moring I drive through the Movni Vong street, I see this new Company which has name by Khmer and Vietnamese "Viet Tian Campuchia = Viet Tien Cambodia ". It make me socked when i start to think about the meaning of this Campany. Strongly translate from this name into Khmer langlauge means: "Viet Nam Chhlian Pian Kampuchea", but it is not simple like someone just thinking.

When I understand the meaning of the Company's Name, my sense remind again the Article of Michael Benge. I would like to point out again and wish all readers to pay attention to this Company Name...after read the article:
Vietnam’s Tay Tién expansion into Laos and Cambodia

Posted by Love Khmer

It is common belief that the Vietnam War was a civil war when in fact it wasn’t; it was a war of conquest of Southeast Asia, for Ho Chi Minh was not a Vietnamese nationalist rather he was an international communist. Ho Chi Minh, cofounder of the French communist party, held a position of leadership in the international communist movement – the Comintern. Ho was sent by the Comintern to Siam (Thailand), Malaya and Singapore to preside over the creation of communist parties in these countries. Moscow also put him in charge of creating communist parties in Cambodia and Laos. All were encouraged to contribute to the international proletarian revolution, and all of them reported to the Comintern’s Far Eastern Bureau headed by Ho.1

As part of the “Communist Internationale funded by the Soviet Union, Ho Chi Minh founded the "Indochinese Communist Party in 1930. Aping his mentor — the butcher Joseph Stalin – Ho’s ultimate plan was to establish a greater Vietnam by gobbling up his neighbors, Laos, Vietnam, and later other S.E. Asian countries as Stalin and Russia did to it's neighbors in establishing the Soviet Union.

After the Geneva Agreements in 1954, Ho Chi Minh saw to it that several hundred young Cambodians were taken north, indoctrinated in communism and given military training. They were later armed and sent back, where they became the basis of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia’s Eastern Zone. Knowing of Ho’s close ties to Moscow and his intent to emulate his hero, the butcher Joseph Stalin, by creating a Soviet-style Union of South East Asia, China began training and arming the Pol Pot faction of the Khmer Rouge as a counterbalance to Soviet influence. China believed that revolution should come from within. North Vietnam enabled the Khmer Rouge to take over Phnom Penh in 1975 by providing logistics, ammunition, artillery and backup by Vietnamese troops making them complicit in the genocide of at least one and one half million Cambodians.

Viewing the U.S. as a paper tiger after its abandonment of South Vietnam, the Vietnamese communist party sent its mighty military force into Cambodia, not to liberate it from Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, but to colonize that country to fulfill Ho Chi Minh’s dream of hegemony over Indochina. They never dreamed that the U.S. would ally with communist China to drive them out. Unfortunately, the Hanoi’s Khmer Rouge remained intact and now controls Cambodia.
From the onset of the Indochina communist party, Ho Chi Minh began neo-colonizing Laos. He, as the majority of the Vietnamese, considered the Laotians, and even more so the Hmong, who had not been cultured by China as being Nha que qua [very backward], therefore they were not to be trusted. That attitude persists among the Vietnamese communists leaders today.

Since the Vietnamese had better access to French education, the French colonial government used Vietnamese as lower-echelon civil servants throughout the region, thus playing right into the hands of Ho Chi Minh. Ho began implementing his plan to dominate Indochina by infiltrating educated communist Vietnamese agents into Lao villages with money to set themselves up as scribes, and moneylenders. Acting as liaisons with the French colonial government through the lower-echelon Vietnamese civil servants, they gained considerable influence throughout the countryside. To cement their stature and gain total trust of the villagers, the Vietnamese communist agents took Lao wives and raised families. Now the sons and a few daughters of these Vietnamese make up a fair portion of the Lao communist party leadership.

In Laos, the U.S. waged a "secret war" against Hanoi to interdict communist North Vietnamese troops infiltrating into South Vietnam. The backbone of this secret war was the Hmong ethnic minorities who lost over 40,000 killed while fighting for the United States. It has been over 30 years since the Vietnam War ended; yet a second ”secret war” continues in Laos. However, this secrete war is being waged jointly by Vietnamese and Laotian communist forces, this time without American involvement. The war is against the Laotian people, especially the Hmong and other ethnic minorities, such as the Khmu, Mien and Chao Fa.

Hanoi maintains large numbers of troops in Laos to assist the communist Pathet Lao in hunting down and exterminating their joint enemy -- the Hmong. In 1988, the Lao Communist Party proclaimed it would hunt down the “American collaborators” and their families, “to the last root.” They will be “butchered like wild animals. Those they are hunting are mostly the children, grand children and great-grandchildren of the fighters who sided with the U.S.

Although Ho Chi Minh is dead, the repressive and genocidal regime in Hanoi continues to implement Ho’s 1930 Indochinese Communist Party’s strategy by neo-colonizing Laos and Cambodia; a strategy reaffirmed in successive Vietnamese communist party congresses.2 Today, the Vietnamese communists have extended their hegemony over Laos and Cambodia and have de facto annexed Laos, which in many ways is now a province of North Vietnam. The Lao party leaders are anointed by Hanoi and receive their marching orders in a Sub Rosa fashion through a Vietnamese shadow government.

In Cambodia, Hanoi maintains a contingent of 3,000 troops, a mixture of special-forces and intelligence agents, with tanks and helicopters, in a huge compound 2½ kilometers outside Phnom Penh right next to Hun Sen's Tuol Krassaing fortress near Takhmau. They are there to ensure that Hanoi's puppet, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, doesn't stray far from Hanoi's policy of neo-colonization of Cambodia. The Vietnamese compound bristles with electronic surveillance equipment that would make any group’s electronic ease-dropping outstation proud. When Vietnamese troops were forced to withdraw from Vietnam, as a compromise, Vietnam installed its Hanoi trained Khmer Rouge marionette Hun Sen as Prime Minister.

Amoeba-like, communist Vietnam began neo-colonizing Laos and Cambodia by the traditional Vietnamese expansionism termed "Don Dien", first by occupying territory with troops, then having their families come in to settle the new territory, then putting the troops into civilian clothes to become "ready reservists" and replacing them with new troops for further expansion. After their defeat in Cambodia, in order to quell a budding revolt within the Vietnamese army, Hanoi compelled their willing partner, Hun Sen, to grant land in Eastern Cambodia and citizenship to over 500,000 Vietnamese army personnel. Thus, the “Vietnamization” of Cambodia began, forcing the puppet regime in Phnom Penh to issue in 1982 Circular No. 240 SR/MC/HH and successive decree-laws appealing to all Cambodians to consider the expansion of solidarity with the fraternal Vietnamese peoples their duty by helping Vietnamese nationals to settle in Cambodia. By 1989, the number of Vietnamese “settlers” in Cambodia had reached 1,250,000. Simultaneously, Vietnam developed new maps depicting their new borders expanding up to 40 kilometers inside Laos and Cambodia. Hun Sen formally conceded these borders to Hanoi in violation of international law through a series of treaties, the latest in October 10, 2005. Reportedly, Vietnamese people form the majority in Cambodia eastern provinces, such as Svay Rieng and Prey Veng.3

Today, the communist party of Vietnam is faced with a burgeoning population, a lack natural resources to fuel its economy and enough fertile land on which to grow food to adequately feed its people. In a desperate move to keep its grasp on power and in an attempt to pacify a restless young population, Hanoi is exporting “guest workers” and by further excursion into neighboring countries in order to expand its control over those territories. In 2005, the communist regime exported 500,000 Vietnamese workers overseas to countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea, and now they are being exported to Cambodia and Laos.

Vietnamese communists continue their policy of neocolonization, nibbling away at Cambodia by annexing sizable portions of its borders, coastlines and islands (e.g., Koh Tral and Krachak Ses) through illegitimate treaties with their puppet regime in Phnom Penh in violation of the1991 Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia. Their latest scheme is involves flooding three northeastern provinces of Cambodia and the three southeastern provinces of Laos with Vietnamese settlers and exploiting the natural resources there.

Chapters of the Cambodian-Vietnam friendship organizations (United Front for National Construction and defense of Cambodia –UFCDK), a “front” for the Vietnam Fatherland Front, have now been established in all of Cambodia’s cities and provinces4 The UFCDK is comparable to Hanoi’s creation of the National Liberation Front (NLF) during the Vietnam War. The NLF was touted as being the political arm of South Vietnam’s Viet Cong, when in fact it was no more than a façade created for propaganda purposes and owned and operated by Hanoi. “The Vietnam fatherland front and its member organizations constitute the political base of people's power. The front promotes the tradition of national solidarity, strengthens the people's unity of mind in political and spiritual matters….”5

In November 2004, Vietnam cajoled the puppet communist regimes of Laos and Cambodia into signing the “,b>Development Triangle agreement.”6 This agreement allows the Vietnamese to now formalize their expansion through what is historically termed Tay Tién (Westward movement) into the three North Eastern provinces of Stung Trèng, Ratanakiri and Mondolkiri in Cambodia, and into the three South Eastern provinces of Attapeu, Sékong and Saravan in Laos.

The “Development Triangle” is a vast area of high plateaus and virgin forests covering approximately 120,400 square kilometers. With the exception of the provinces in Vietnam where the communist regime have already confiscated the ancestral lands of the Montagnards in the Central Highlands, deforested the area, and relocated several million people there; those provinces in Laos and Cambodia are sparsely populated, mainly with ethnic minorities, but were occupied by the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War.

This “so called development” of these provinces starts with building a “security” road network with the intent to deprive Montagnards fleeing repression in the Central Highlands of Vietnam of sanctuary among their distant relatives in Laos and Cambodia and in the UNHCR camps in Phnom Penh. Although claiming that the roads would increase tourism and commerce in these areas, the real reason is to create easy access for the growing Vietnamese population to migrate to and neo-colonize these provinces in Laos and Cambodia. Already, Vietnamese settlers are flooding Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri provinces in Cambodia occupying lands belonging to the local populations.

The Triangle occupies “an eminently strategic position on the political, economical, social, environmental and ecological levels” for the control of Laos, Cambodia by Hanoi. Japan and China are leading supporters of Vietnam’s expansionism.

Already in Laos, the Vietnamese army’s Military Corps No. 15 has completed an irrigation complex in Sekong for plantation crops , established a coffee plantation in Salavan, and developed plans for setting up coffee, rubber and cashew plantations, and building a 10,000 tonne-per-year rubber processing plant in Attopeu. Atopeu’s new rubber plantation covers and area of over 7,000 hectares.7 The ‘Triangle’ area is only one of many places that the Vietnamese expansionists have moved into in order to the natural resources of Laos; e.g., there are six hydroelectric dams that were constructed and are owned and operated by the Vietnamese to power Vietnam’s booming economy.

In Cambodia, China is competing with Vietnam and constructing roads in Stung Treng, exploiting forests in Mondulkiri, and developing mining exploration units in Ratanakkiri. Vietnam views the Triangle area for its potential for growing cash crops and establishing vast plantations fast-growing trees, coffee, tea and rubber to earn export dollars. Both the Vietnamese and Laotian regimes have voiced policies of using ethnic minorities in these regions for cheap labor for plantations established on their ancestral lands.

Vietnam’s parastatal company EVN (Electricity of Viet Nam) is planning to build five hydroelectric dams on the Sesan River in Stung Treng Province. The dams will have a total production capacity of 818 megawatts. The estimated production capacities and costs of the five dams are: 1) 420 MW, costing $611 million; 2) 180 MW, costing $387 million; 3) 90 MW at $164 million; and 4&5) 64 MW each, costing $114 million each.

Construction on these dams is expected to begin in 2012 upon the completion of the Japanese-funded highway connecting the port of Da Nang in Vietnam with the northeastern provinces of Cambodia, and the southeastern provinces of Laos.8

Corruption and a lack of progress in combating it remain a major blight on Asia's restructuring efforts following the 1997 crisis. Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam also lost ground in 2007, according to Transparency International. The strong correlation between corruption and poverty means that the benefits of growth are concentrated among the politically connected and bypass many who most need it.9

Given the level of corruption among officials in Vietnam and Cambodia, it is expected that several Cambodian and Vietnamese officials will become very, very wealthy from these projects. The dams would be constructed, owned and operated by Vietnamese, and the electricity generated from these hydroelectric plants will be forwarded and sold to Vietnamese power plants. Purportedly, electricity would be resold to Cambodia at a “cheap price.” One has to be very naive to believe that Vietnam will sell any electricity to Cambodia at a cheaper price than in Vietnam, given that county’s level of corruption, rate of economic growth and the need for cheap energy to fuel its economy; its needs are increasing by 10-15% annually.

Another reason for its expansion in Laos and Cambodia is Vietnam’s conflict between food production, industrialization and building dams to power its economic growth. In the last five years, Vietnam has lost 300,000 hectares of irrigated rice due to industrial development, including a vast amount lost through the construction of dams. This is creating a looming shortage of rice needed to feed it burgeoning population.

The construction of dams results in the displacement of large numbers of indigenous populations that farm the fertile soils in the river basins. These people are then either relocated to marginally productive lands, or receive no land at all; thus they fall victim to abject poverty. Vietnam has a history of doing this as well as corrupt officials absconding with relocation funds, leaving the victims with little or nothing; e.g., the Muong Lay Dam in North Vietnam.10 Those who choose to remain behind to farm the basins below the dams find that two or three times a year,uncontrolled spillage from the dams will flood their fields, destroy their crops and drown their livestock.

The Se San River originates in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and flows into Cambodia where it meets the Mekong River. In 1993, the Vietnamese government started construction on the first dam on the river -- Yali Falls Dam -- which was completed in 2000.

While the dam was under construction from 1996-2000, erratic releases of water resulted in flash flooding downstream, causing deaths to people and livestock and destruction of rice fields and vegetable gardens. Since 2000, operation of the dam has resulted in rapid and daily fluctuations in the river’s flow downstream in Cambodia’s Ratanakiri and Stung Treng provinces. It is estimated that at least 36 people have drowned due to erratic releases of water from the dam, and at least 55,000 people have been adversely affected -- suffering millions of dollars in damages due to lost rice production, drowned livestock, lost fishing income, and damages to rice reserves, boats, fishing gear and houses. Over 3,500 people have relocated to other areas without compensation.11

In addition, more than 6,700 people were resettled to make way for Yali Falls Dam (in Vietnam, ed.). According to a 2001 study by Vietnam’s Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, people displaced by the dam have suffered from severe shortages of food and other hardships since the dam flooded their homes and land in 1999.

Affected communities (in Vietnam, ed.) have not received compensation for their losses, and there are no plans to provide them with compensation for past or future impacts. In Cambodia, communities have formed the Se San Protection Network to press for compensation and changes to the dam’s operating regime to minimize downstream damages. Despite the unresolved issues, the government of Vietnam has embarked on an ambitious plan to build up to five more dams on the Sesan River. The International Rivers Network is working to support the Se San Protection Network in their request for reparations and a halt to future dam construction on the Se San River.12

Although he’s dead, Hanoi is well on its way in the implementation of Ho Chi Minh’s 1930 aspirations of creating a Soviet-style Indochina.

Cambodia is presently ruled by Hanoi’s marionette Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Vietnamese communist-backed corrupt cabal. In terms of “real politick”, Hun Sen’s Premiership -- albeit obtained illegally, first by a coup d'eatat *d’etat in 1997 and then appointed by bought-and-paid-for National Assemblies in 1998 and 2003 -- continues to receive de facto international recognition as the “legitimate” representative government of Cambodia. Therefore, the Paris Peace Agreement of October 23rd, 1991, or any other accord/agreement, is at present moot. Thus, nothing can be done at this time about violations of Cambodia’s territorial integrity until a democratic or another form of government representing the true aspirations of the Cambodian people is elected. At that time, the new Cambodian government can take these matters to the international court for abrogation of these unfair and illegal treaties and agreements made by the illegitimate, corrupt and immoral regime of Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party (CPP).

Paper presented by Michael Benge at the National Conference 2007 to commemorate and assess “The Paris Peace Agreement” of October 23rd, 1991 (with attached “Final Act of the Paris Conference on Cambodia”). Mr. Benge is a retired Foreign Service Officer who spent over 16 years in South East Asia, 11 years in Viet Nam, and five years as a Prisoner of the North Vietnamese -- ‘68-73 – in South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam. Mr. Benge is a student of South East Asian politics, is very active in advocating for human rights and religious freedom for the people there, and has written extensively on these subjects. He resides in Falls Church, VA, and can be contacted through email at:

,b>Literature cited

1Hoang Van Hoan as cited by Moyar, Mark. “Triumph Forsaken.” Cambridge University Press. 2006.

2RSAMH, Fund 89, list 54, document 10. About VWP policy in determination of Indochinese problems and our goals implying from the decisions of the ??IV Congress of the C.P.S.U. (political letter). May 21, 1971, p. 14. as cited in “The Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese Communists.”

3Cambodia’s Border Committee. “Cambodia is becoming more and more Vietnamized.”
October 23, 2007. Paris.

4Vietnam News Agency (organ of the communist party). 2004.


6Dy Kareth. “The expansionist ‘Development Triangle.’” Published by CFC-CBC, Paris, August 22, 2005.

7NHAN DAN (newspaper organ of the Vietnamese communist party). June 30, 2007.

8Agence Kampuchea Presse. 07/09/06.

9William Pesek. “Corruption in Asia keeps poor from rising.” International Herald Tribune. 30/10/07




Final Act of the Paris Conference on Cambodia
1. Concerned by the tragic conflict and continuing bloodshed in Cambodia, the Paris Conference on Cambodia was convened, at the invitation of the Government of the French Republic, in order to achieve an internationally guaranteed comprehensive settlement which would restore peace to that country. The Conference was held in two sessions, the first from 30 July to 30 August 1989, and the second from 21 to 23 October 1991.

2. The co-Presidents of the Conference were H. E. Mr. Roland Dumas, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, and H. E. Mr. Ali Alatas, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

3. The following States participated in the Conference: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, the People's Republic of China, the French Republic, the Republic of India, the Republic of Indonesia, Japan, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom.of *Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

In addition, the Non-Aligned Movement was represented at the Conference by its current Chairman at each session, namely Zimbabwe at the first session and Yugoslavia at the second session.

4. At the first session of the Conference, Cambodia was represented by the four Cambodian Parties. The Supreme National Council of Cambodia, under the leadership of its President, H.R.H. Prince Norodom Sihanouk, represented Cambodia at the second session of the Conference.

5. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, and his Special Representative, Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed, also participated in the Conference.

6. The Conference organized itself into three working committees of the whole, which met throughout the first session of the Conference. The First Committee dealt with military matters, the Second Committee dealt with the question of international guarantees, and the Third Committee with the repatriation of refugees and displaced persons and the eventual reconstruction of Cambodia.

The officers of each committee were as follows:
First Committee
Mr. C.R. Gharekhan (India)
Mr. Allan Sullivan (Canada)
Rapporteur: Ms. Victoria Sisante-Bataclan (Philippines)
Second Committee
Mr. Soulivong Phrasithideth (Laos)
Dato' Zainal Abidin Ibrahim (Malaysia)
Rapporteur: Mr. Herve Dejean de la Batie (France)
Third Committee
Mr. Yukio Imagawa (Japan)
Mr. Robert Merrillees (Australia)
Rapporteur: Colonel Ronachuck Swasdikiat (Thailand)

The Conference also established an Ad Hoc Committee, composed of the representatives of the four Cambodian Parties and chaired by the representatives of the two co-Presidents of the Conference, whose mandate involved matters related to national reconciliation among the Cambodian Parties. The Ad Hoc Committee held several meetings during the first session of the Conference.

The Coordination Committee of the Conference, chaired by the representatives of the two co-Presidents, was established and given responsibility for general coordination of the work of the other four committees. The Coordination Committee met at both the first and second sessions of the Conference. An informal meeting of the Coordination Committee was also held in New York on 21 September 1991.

7. At the conclusion of the first session, the Conference had achieved progress in elaborating a wide variety of elements necessary for the achievement of a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in Cambodia. The Conference noted, however, that it was not yet possible to achieve a comprehensive settlement. It was therefore decided to suspend the Conference on 30 August 1989. However, in doing so, the Conference urged all parties concerned to intensify their efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement, and asked the co-Presidents to lend their good offices to facilitate these efforts.

8. Following the suspension of the first session of the Conference, the co-Presidents and the Secretary-General of the United Nations undertook extensive consultations, in particular with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, with the Supreme National Council of Cambodia, and with other participants in the Paris Conference. The object of these consultations was to forge agreement on all aspects of a settlement, to ensure that all initiatives to this end were compatible and to enhance the prospects of ending the bloodshed in Cambodia at the earliest possible date. The efforts of the co-Presidents and the Secretary-General paved the way for the reconvening of the Paris Conference on Cambodia.

9. At the inaugural portion of the final meeting of the Paris Conference, on 23 October 1991, the Conference was addressed by H.E. Mr. Francois Mitterrand, President of the French Republic, H.R.H. Prince Norodom Sihanouk, President of the Supreme National Council of Cambodia, and H.E. Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

10. At the second session, the Conference adopted the following instruments:
1. Agreement on a comprehensive political settlement of the Cambodia conflict, with annexes on the mandate for UNTAC, military matters, elections, repatriation of Cambodian refugees and displaced persons, and the principles for a new Cambodian constitution;
2. Agreement concerning the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and inviolability, neutrality and national unity of Cambodia; and
3. Declaration on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Cambodia

These instruments represent an elaboration of the "Framework for a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict" adopted by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council on 28 August 1990, and of elements of the work accomplished at the first session of the Conference. They entail a continuing process of national reconciliation and an enhanced role for the United Nations, thus enabling the Cambodian people to determine their own political future through free and fair elections organized and conducted by the United Nations in a neutral political environment with full respect for the national sovereignty of Cambodia.

11. These instruments, which together form the comprehensive settlement the achievement of which was the objective of the Paris Conference, are being presented for signature to the States participating in the Paris Conference. On behalf of Cambodia, the instruments will be signed by the twelve members of the Supreme National Council of Cambodia, which is the unique legitimate body and source of authority enshrining the sovereignty, independence and unity of Cambodia.

12. The States participating in the Conference call upon the co-Presidents of the Conference to transmit an authentic copy of the comprehensive political settlement instruments to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The States participating in the Conference request the Secretary General to take the appropriate steps in order to enable consideration of the comprehensive settlement by the United Nations Security Council at the earliest opportunity. They pledge their full cooperation in the fulfilment *fulfillment of this comprehensive settlement and their assistance in its implementation.

Above all, in view of the recent tragic history of Cambodia, the States participating in the Conference commit themselves to promote and encourage respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cambodia, as embodied in the relevant international instruments to which they are party.

13. The States participating in the Conference request the International Committee of the Red Cross to facilitate, in accordance with its principles, the release of prisoners of war and civilian internees. They express their readiness to assist the ICRC in this task.

14. The States participating in the Conference invite other States to accede to the Agreement on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict and to the Agreement concerning the Sovereignty, Independen.e, *Independence, Territorial Integrity and Inviolability, Neutrality and National Unity of Cambodia.

15. Further recognizing the need for a concerted international effort to assist Cambodia in the tasks of rehabilitation and reconstruction, the States participating in the Conference urge the international community to provide generous economic and financial support for the measures set forth in the Declaration on the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Cambodia.

In witness whereof the representatives have signed this Final Act.
Done at Paris this twenty-third day of October one thousand nine hundred and ninety-one, in two copies in the Chinese, English, French, Khmer and Russian languages, each text being equally authentic. The originals of this Final Act shall be deposited with the Governments of the French Republic and of the Republic of Indonesia.

Reprinted with permission from Mike Benge