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Cablegate: Un Ct Body Assesses Strong Interest but Weaker

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPF #0416/01 1411124
ZNY EEEEE ZZH
P 201124Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY0000
INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 2312
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3209
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN PRIORITY

UNCLAS E F T O PHNOM PENH 000416

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

EAP/MLS, S/CT, S/CRS, IO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PREL CB
SUBJECT: UN CT BODY ASSESSES STRONG INTEREST BUT WEAKER
CAPACITY IN CAMBODIA

1. (SBU) Summary: The UN Counter Terrorism Committee's
Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) visited May
5-9 to assess Cambodia's compliance with UNSCR 1373. The
CTC/CTED delegation was composed of representatives of ADB,
INTERPOL, IOM, UNODC, as well as the UN Secretariat, and was
led by CTED Executive Director Mike Smith (a former
Australian Ambassador). The local Counter-Terrorism Action
Group (CTAG) met with the CTED delegation May 9. The meeting
was chaired by the Deputy Head of the Japanese Embassy,
representing the G8 presidency, and included representatives
of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Russian
Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In
remarks in the margins of the meeting, Smith told the DCM
that he had rarely seen a PM as well-versed in C/T issues as
Hun Sen and commented that the delegation had had excellent
access and assistance. At the same time, Cambodia's limited
capacity was obvious, Smith concluded. End Summary.

2. (SBU) At the outset of the May 9 lunch with
representatives of the local CTAG (which has not met since an
informal lunch last fall, during the German presidency), CTED
explained that the purpose of their mission was to identify
"shortfalls" where Cambodia requires technical assistance, as
well as the areas of interest in which CTAG members are
actively involved. For this purpose, CTED encouraged the
participants to share information on programs undertaken,
underway or under consideration. CTED presented its view that
overall counter-terrorism effort by the Cambodian Government
is relatively good, while at the operational level further
assistance is required. CTED commended the fact that the
National Counter-terrorism Committee (NCTC) and the Law on
Counter Terrorism are in place, and that Cambodia is working
to sign and comply with its international CT obligations.

3. (SBU) CTAG members shared the view that the situation in
Cambodia has been relatively calm and the potential threat of
terrorism is low. All agreed, however, that counter-terrorism
assistance should be continued, as prevention is important.
The Australian, German, and U.S. reps referred to worrying
trends towards fundamentalism in the Cham Muslim population.
The CTED members stated that not only assistance in hardware
but also in capacity building is essential. The meeting
agreed on the importance and necessity of providing training
and following up the situation after the completion of the
project in order to make a real impact of the project.

4. (SBU) CTAG members made the following remarks, amongst
others.

- Australia stated that it had been actively involved in
various areas of counter terrorism (CT) assistance,
particularly in the areas of legislative drafting, law
enforcement, immigration and border control training,
aviation security, and maritime security. Australia had also
seconded a senior CT advisor to the NCTC for 12 months to
advise and assist Cambodia to develop a strategic CT
coordination capability. The Australian DCM said it also was
important to note that a wide range of developmental
activities, including those that strengthened good
governance, greater transparency and English language
training, could contribute to better CT outcomes in the long
term.

- Canada stressed the importance of a holistic approach and
good coordination of existing projects in the Mekong region
or in the ASEAN countries.

- France will continue to support Cambodia's anti-terrorism
effort by focusing on the legal aspects, including providing
assistance on the drafting and implementation of the Penal
Code and Penal Procedure Code, as well as capacity building
at the Royal Academy for Judicial Professions. In this
regard, CTED encouraged France to ensure consistency of the
definition of money laundering between the Penal Code and the
Law on Counter-terrorism. It further stated that it is
essential to promote not only the understanding of the laws
but also the implementation on the ground through workshops,
etc.

- Germany has been closely monitoring recent development of
Muslim communities in Cambodia, with special attention to the
influence "repatriates" who are radicalized abroad may have
on the Cambodian society.

- Japan has provided security facilities and equipment at
Sihanoukville Port and has dispatched a resident expert, in
order to help enhance maritime and port security in Cambodia.

Japan's main focus is on counter-terrorism dialogues and a
wide range of training programs. The CTED reps commented
that the port equipment provided by Japan was not being used
to its maximum effect, as the operators seemed more focused
on customs issues than detecting illicit goods.

- Russia is currently not an active donor of
counter-terrorism assistance, which the Russian DCM
attributed to the absence of a bilateral treaty. Neglecting
the fact that requests from the Cambodian side (pulled
together by the Australian rep in the NCTC) have been
distributed previously, the Russian DCM stated that Russia
would welcome any input CTED could provide regarding what the
Cambodian side saw as key needs.

- The U.K. said given the UK CT assessment of the threat
posed by Cambodia, currently cooperation with Cambodia on CT
issues was small. However, they had previously funded a
large, three-year project on strengthening border security
implemented by IOM. The IOM rep within CTED confirmed that
although the program ended in June 2007, it was still
delivering some results. The UK is currently assisting the
Secretariat of the NCTC through provision of a small number
of places on CT issues at JCLEC training courses in Indonesia
during 2008. The UK commented on the difficulties of
information sharing within the Cambodian government
structure, adding that even though NCTC itself appears to be
a relatively well-organized overarching institution, it has
not yet established the necessary linkages across government
needed to promote/ensure a joined-up approach to CT issues,
which results in a silo mentality. The UK DCM also detailed
the difficulties encountered in identifying suitable
candidates for training given the Cambodian attitude to
training opportunities, and highlighted the need for donors
to both share information and closely follow-up on
projects/activities in order to ensure both the Cambodian
system and donors obtain the maximum benefits including
through the domino effect of training

- The DCM noted that the US has been supporting a number of
government institutions including NCTC. She provided a
three-page table listing U.S. assistance including technical
support and training - provided both in Cambodia and abroad.
She noted the U.S. work with Cambodia on PISCES. She
commented that rather than introducing a concept in one
training session, the U.S. approach has been incremental -
reinforcing training previously provided and working
consistently with Cambodian counterparts to keep more
technically complex programs, like PISCES, operational. She
noted information derived from an educational survey which
shows some worrying trends about Cham Muslims "falling
between the cracks" of Khmer society due to cultural and
linguistic differences.

5. (U) Smith concluded the meeting by thanking the local
CTAG reps for their frankness about the strengths and
weaknesses of Cambodia's CT structures. Smith's delegation
will prepare a report on Cambodia's compliance with UNSCR
1373 to be shared with Security Council members. Post would
appreciate any information which USUN can supply (including a
copy of the report when it is released to SC members.)
CAMPBELL

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