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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09PHNOMPENH142 2009-03-04 09:58:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Phnom Penh
Cable title:  

HOR NAMHONG WELCOMES GROWING U.S. COOPERATION IN ASEAN

Tags:   PREL PGOV PBTS MARR TH CB 
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VZCZCXRO8921
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHFK RUEHHM RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH RUEHPB RUEHTRO
DE RUEHPF #0142/01 0630958
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 040958Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0464
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3269
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0683
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 2673
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2369
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000142 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP, P, D, IO
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USAID
BANGKOK PLEASE PASS TO USAID/RDMA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PBTS MARR TH CB
SUBJECT: HOR NAMHONG WELCOMES GROWING U.S. COOPERATION IN ASEAN

REF: 08 PHNOM PENH 701

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED



1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister (FM)
Hor Namhong focused on ASEAN, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT) and
U.S. support for the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) joining
regional and larger international institutions during EAP Deputy
Assistant Secretary (DAS) and U.S. Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs Scot
Marciel's March 2 courtesy call in advance of the second annual
U.S.-Cambodia bilateral dialogue. Hor Namhong welcomed Secretary
Clinton's visit to the ASEAN Secretariat and requested that she
consider a trip to Phnom Penh after she attends the ASEAN Post
Ministerial Meeting in July. The FM dismissed public criticism of
the RGC over the barring of a Cambodian civil society representative
from talks at the recent ASEAN Summit.



2. (SBU) Hor Namhong thanked the U.S. for its bilateral assistance
and asked the USG to provide more financial support to the KRT. He
also asked the USG to support Cambodia's bid for a non-permanent
seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC) and request to join APEC, and
he briefly discussed ongoing land and maritime border negotiations
with Thailand. The FM's strong focus on regional issues and the
RGC's desire to join the UNSC and APEC are positive indications that
Cambodia wishes to step up its international engagement. END
SUMMARY.

INCREASING U.S. ENGAGEMENT WITH ASEAN


--------------------------





3. (SBU) Hor Namhong said that ASEAN Secretary General Surin
Pitsuwan sent a positive report of his meeting with Secretary
Clinton, and that the ASEAN Foreign Ministers viewed her visit to
the Secretariat in Jakarta as a sign that U.S. cooperation with
ASEAN would continue to grow. Ambassador Marciel reiterated that
the U.S. would work hard to improve relations with ASEAN and that
the U.S. would begin the process of pursuing accession to the ASEAN
Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. He confirmed that Secretary
Clinton would attend the ASEAN Post Ministerial Meeting in Thailand
in July, and Hor Namhong requested that she consider a trip to Phnom
Penh while she is in the region.

CAMBODIA AND THE ASEAN SUMMIT


--------------------------





4. (SBU) Hor Namhong stated that last weekend's ASEAN Summit had
been productive and stressed the importance of the ratified ASEAN
Charter. When asked about the barring of a Cambodian civil society
representative from the talks, Hor Namhong repeated his public
statements that the Summit organizers excluded the purported
Cambodian representative after the RGC delegation noted that the
representative did not appear in the ASEAN Charter's list of
registered NGOs. He said that the RGC wanted to play a role in the
selection of Cambodian civil society interlocutors. (NOTE: The
Cambodian representative and his NGO are not known to anyone at this
Embassy, and his selection is a bit of a mystery. END NOTE.)
Ambassador Marciel remarked that Cambodia being raised in the same
context as Burma was not good for its image.

BILATERAL ASSISTANCE AND THE KHMER ROUGE TRIBUNAL


--------------------------



--------------------------





5. (SBU) Hor Namhong expressed his gratitude for U.S. assistance in
basic education and health, and for the recent donation of 40 trucks
to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. He highlighted the
much-appreciated work of the Peace Corps. He also asked Ambassador
Marciel how the U.S. could contribute more financial support to the
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), often
called the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT), noting that Japan had pledged
$20-$21 million towards the UN side of the tribunal and that the
Cambodian side of the court would soon run out of money. Ambassador
Marciel said that the U.S. hoped to contribute more funding but
cautioned that the U.S. government budget process moved slowly. Hor
Namhong also noted that although there had been media speculation
about corruption in the KRT, there had been four to seven
independent audits of the tribunal that had found no cases of
corruption. He added that the RGC was working with the UN to
develop mechanisms to promote greater transparency in the KRT.

CAMBODIA IN APEC AND AT THE UNSC


--------------------------



PHNOM PENH 00000142 002 OF 002





6. (SBU) Hor Namhong repeated past requests (Reftel) for the U.S. to
support Cambodia's bid to join the UN Security Council (UNSC) in


2013. (NOTE: Elections will be held in 2012, and the Republic of
Korea is reportedly also running. END NOTE.) He said that all ASEAN
members, plus 61 other countries, had confirmed their support for
the Cambodians' bid. He also asked that the U.S. push to lift the
moratorium on new members joining APEC and support Cambodia's
accession to the group. He stressed that more involvement in
regional and international institutions would advance Cambodia's
development. Ambassador Marciel promised to take the RGC's requests
back to Washington for consideration.

PREAH VIHEAR BORDER DISPUTE; OVERLAPPING CLAIMS AREA


--------------------------



--------------------------





7. (SBU) When discussing border issues, the Foreign Minister said
that the Thais had agreed to refer to a 2000 MOU regarding
demarcation of the entire land border, including the disputed border
area around the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Preah Vihear. He said
that the RGC would push to use a map of the border made by the
French during the protectorate era in 1904-1908. He also said that
the RGC and Thai government had agreed to bring in technical experts
to help map the maritime border, including an overlapping claims
area proposed to be developed jointly, and determine how the two
countries could share revenues from potential oil and gas resources.


COMMENT


--------------------------





8. (SBU) Hor Namhong's strong focus on regional issues and the RGC's
aspiration to join APEC and the UNSC signal that Cambodia is eager
to play a more active role on the international stage. Increased
engagement at the regional and global levels would, as the FM
pointed out, further Cambodia's development agenda. A greater
international focus on Cambodia could also persuade the RGC to
accelerate reforms in areas important to the U.S., such as rule of
law and good governance, trade facilitation and economic growth, and
security cooperation. However, as illustrated recently by the spat
over the participation of civil society at the ASEAN Summit, the RGC
still has a lot to learn to improve its international image and
become more fully integrated in the international community.


RODLEY