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06PHNOMPENH643 2006-04-05 11:51:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Phnom Penh
Cable title:  

CAMBODIA'S FM ON APEC, BURMA, AND

Tags:   PREL AORC PHUM CB 
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1. (C) Summary. During Ambassador's April 5 meeting with
FM Hor Namhong, the FM raised the prospect of APEC
membership, PM Hun Sen's desire to participate in the
November APEC Summit meeting in Hanoi as part of the ASEAN
leaders' meeting with President Bush, and the FM's interest
in meeting with Secretary Rice either in New York at the
September UNGA meetings or in Washington during the same time
period. The Ambassador pressed the FM on Guatemala's
candidacy for the Latin American seat on the UNSC and tougher
ASEAN action on Burma, and informed the FM of DAS John's
upcoming visit to Cambodia. End Summary.

Cambodia/U.S. Bilateral Relations, APEC, Burma and Guatemala


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2. (C) On April 5, the Ambassador met with Foreign Minister
Hor Namhong, noting that he would be leaving for the States
at mid-month and would be discussing Cambodia's bilateral
relationship in Washington. He noted that the positive
political developments of the first quarter augured well for
further development of more productive relations between the
two countries. The FM agreed, saying that Cambodia wants to
improve understanding between the two countries as well. He
said that of primary interest to Cambodia is APEC membership,
adding that Cambodia has asked Vietnam to raise the issue at
the APEC Summit in Hanoi in November. The Ambassador noted
USG concerns with lifting the membership moratorium, but he
agreed to report the issue to Washington. FM Hor Namhong
said that Prime Minister Hun Sen will join the other ASEAN
leaders in Hanoi and would welcome the opportunity for a
pull-aside or bilateral meeting at that time. For his part,
the FM said he would be interested in visiting Washington to
meet with Secretary Rice in September when the UNGA meetings
are taking place.



3. (C) Turning to Burma, the Ambassador pointed to
continuing USG frustration with Burma over the political
stalemate in Rangoon and lack of progress towards democracy.
Hor Namhong echoed the Ambassador's concern, saying that
ASEAN leaders uniformly share the frustration as evidenced at
last year's Summit in Kuala Lumpur. The FM noted that even
Vietnam, which previously had not been very forthcoming on
the subject, has moved closer in line with other ASEAN
leaders on the subject of Burma. He said that the Malaysian
FM would provide a readout of his recent visit to Burma at
the April 18-19 ASEAN FM's retreat in Bali, but indicated
that Cambodia is disappointed with the visit, and
characterized it as a "failure." Than Shwe holds all the
power and Hamid was unable to meet with him, he continued;
the political leaders have no influence nor does Rangoon's
military junta listen to them. The FM said that Burma would
also be discussed later in the year at the leaders' meeting
in the Philippines. He added that Burma is not simply an
issue of concern to ASEAN member states because of its being
out of step with other ASEAN countries, but also because of
ASEAN's image. The Ambassador mused about the possibility of
suspending Burma's membership in the regional body if all
else fails; the FM made no comment.



4. (C) The Ambassador noted USG interest in Cambodian
support for Guatemala as a candidate for the rotating Latin
American seat at the UNSC. He outlined the reasons for
considering Guatemala's candidacy over that of Venezuela,
mentioning Venezuela's disruptive behavior at recent
international fora. He added that the Embassy was aware that
Cambodia had already been approached on behalf of Venezuela
and perhaps had promised to support Venezuela's candidacy.
The FM said he was not aware of any RGC commitment to support
Venezuela, and would verify what has taken place concerning
this issue. However, he indicated that Cambodia must
consider seriously the USG's request regarding Guatemala's
candidacy.

DAS John Visit


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5. (C) The Ambassador said that EAP DAS Eric John would be
visiting the region at the end of April, and would be coming
to Cambodia in the April 30-May 2 timeframe. Although the
Ambassador will not be in country at the time, he said that
the Embassy would be submitting a request for a meeting and
hoped the FM would be available. Hor Namhong said he was
planning to travel to Canada in May, but thought he would be

in Cambodia at that time. If he is present, the FM offered
to host a dinner. The FM also expressed his hope that DAS
John would have the opportunity to see Angkor Wat and visit
Siem Reap during his stay in Cambodia. The Ambassador
offered that there may not be enough time to schedule a side
trip to Siem Reap.

Comment


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6. (C) We will continue to look for ways that Cambodia can
be helpful on Burma, although it appears that ASEAN -- while
increasingly frustrated with Burmese intransigence -- does
not yet seem willing to entertain more forceful measures
(e.g., suspension). We plan to revisit the issue of
Guatemala with the MFA to ascertain if their position on
Venezuela has changed in the aftermath of the Ambassador's
intervention with the FM. The FM's interest in ensuring a
successful DAS John visit was genuine. End Comment.
Mussomeli