Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn on Saturday addressed the UN General Assembly and reaffirmed the Kingdom’s opposition to any interference by foreign countries in its internal affairs.
Over the past two years, the Kingdom has been criticised by the United States and the European Union over perceived setbacks to human rights and democracy over the dissolution of the former opposition CNRP.
Currently, the Kingdom is facing the possible suspension of its Everything-but-arms trade status by the EU, while the US is drafting a bill that could remove Cambodia’s classification under the Generalised System of Preferences.
Mr Sokhonn was in New York to attend the 74th session of the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly from September 24 to Saturday.
According to a ministry press release issued yesterday, Mr Sokhonn highlighted the importance of respecting sovereignty.
“Respect for the principle of equality and sovereignty, respect for the right to manage one’s own destiny and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of the state as stated in the UN Charter are essential to sustaining multilateralism in pursuing the path to peace and stability, solidarity and progress,” Mr Sokhonn said during his speech.
He said countries around the world are faced with vulnerabilities due to protectionism, unilateralism and state-interference.
“As all forms of interferences persist, fake news has been used as their justification and have become an instrument for international politics,” Mr Sokhonn said.
Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday said interference in domestic affairs was pointed out by world leaders during the General Debate, amplifying Cambodia’s concerns.
“Small countries are strongly affected by interference in their internal affairs,” Mr Phea said. “I think Mr Sokhonn hit the core concerns of many countries that are currently facing interference by powerful countries.”
Mr Sokhonn also told the UNGA about socio-economic development in Cambodia, noting that the Kingdom has a model of inclusive growth based on the spirit of “leaving no one behind”.
He highlighted Cambodia’s contributions to UN peacekeeping missions and the Kingdom’s commitment to supporting multilateralism, free trade and rule-based international order with the UN at its core.
Mr Sokhonn also held separate meetings with his counterparts from Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, where they discussed bilateral cooperation, mutual support on multilateral frameworks and major political and economic developments in the Kingdom.