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International reaction to the CNRP termination

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:
Police in front of the Supreme Court during the hearing on Thursday. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Supreme Court decided to dissolve the CNRP and ban 118 CNRP members from political activity for five years. This decision has drawn wide expressions of concerns from human rights groups and western countries, including the United States.

In contrast, Reuters quoted China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang saying: “China supports Cambodia in pursuing its own development path.”

The White House expressed concern about the decision, stating that it was based on meritless and politicized allegations of a conspiracy to overthrow the government.  “The United States will take concrete steps to respond to the Cambodian government’s deeply regrettable actions,” read the statement.  As a first step, they will terminate support for the National Election Committee.  “On the current course next year’s election will not be legitimate, free, or fair,” it said, calling on the government to undo the action against the CNRP.

CPP spokesman Sok Ey San countered: “If the US does not support the NEC, there will be other countries to support and grant aid for it.”

The European Union, Great Britain and Australia also conveyed their concerns about human rights and democracy in Cambodia, calling for resolution of the situation.  The EU spokesman said that an electoral process from which the main opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded is not legitimate, and that respect of fundamental human rights is a prerequisite for Cambodia to continue benefiting from the EU’s preferential Everything But Arms scheme.

The question if aids cuts and market restrictions would impact the national budget was raised in the National Assembly.  Aun Porn Moniroth, Minister of Economy and Finance, replied that in 1995 around 70 percent of the national budget was foreign financed, and is currently about 20 percent and will be even lower in 2018.

Mr. Moniroth asserted that Cambodia’s independence and sovereignty could not be influenced by foreign aid or political influence.

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