Defence Minister General Tea Banh and United States Ambassador Patrick Murphy met yesterday to discuss cooperation in the areas of peacekeeping, humanitarian demining and POW/MIA accounting.
“In general, he wants cooperation between Cambodia and the US in all sectors to be good again,” Gen Banh told Khmer Times after the meeting. “Among others, he spoke of docking for US [naval] ships, demining and peacekeeping.”
He said Mr Murphy wants to visit areas in Cambodia still riddled with landmines.
Gen Banh said the issue of human rights and politics in the Kingdom was also mentioned.
“He raised what could be done to expand Kem Sokha’s freedom,” Gen Banh said. “But, we told him the issue involves the courts.”
The US embassy yesterday through its Facebook page said Mr Murphy is keen to see the Kingdom improve its democratic track record and strengthen US-Cambodia relations.
“Ambassador Murphy noted that further steps to restore full multi-party democracy and rights for political figures will contribute to Cambodia’s stability and prosperity, strengthen the overall US-Cambodia relationship and help preserve Cambodia’s sovereignty and independence,” it said.
Mr Murphy echoed the US embassy’s statement on his Twitter page.
“I met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence General Tea Banh to discuss cooperation on peacekeeping, demining, POW/MIA accounting,” Mr Murphy said. “We also addressed the steps of Cambodia can take on democracy and the right to help facilitate a return to better mil-mil cooperation and pressure sovereignty.”
The US-Cambodia relationship began to deteriorate in the lead up to the 2018 national election after the CNRP was dissolved in November 2017.