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Government slams US over possible sanctions

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
(Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

The government yesterday slammed the US House of Representatives for passing the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019, a bill aimed at applying travel and financial sanctions to individuals “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom.

The bill will need to have the approval of the Senate and President Donald Trump before it becomes a law. The bill was originally reintroduced by Congressman Ted Yoho in January and it was co-sponsored by two other Congressmen.

According to media reports, if the bill becomes a law, it would direct Mr Trump to apply property-blocking and visa restriction sanctions against each senior official of the government, military, or security forces for allegedly undermining democracy in Cambodia and committed serious human rights violations.

In a press release, Mr Yoho said the bill aims to target government officials.

“The Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019 will push back against the Hun Sen regime’s undermining of democracy and related human rights abuses by applying financial sanctions to the figures who carry out this despicable agenda and codifying the Administration’s existing visa restrictions for these individuals,” he said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday said he was surprised about the passing of the bill and that it was politically motivated.

“The bipartisan bill is aimed against the political will of the Cambodian people, who elected their leaders lawfully through peaceful and democratic elections,” Mr Siphan said. “I call on the US legislative body and US government to reconsider its position toward Cambodia, for the interest of maintaining a good relationship and the mutual interest.”

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