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Cablegate: Cambodia Concerned About Hampered Relief Efforts

VZCZCXRO9874
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0453 1551214
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031214Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS PHNOM PENH 000453

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS - A. COPE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID PHUM BM CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA CONCERNED ABOUT HAMPERED RELIEF EFFORTS
IN BURMA

REF: STATE 59122

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED.

1. (SBU) Pol/Ec Chief June 3 conveyed reftel points on the
growing concern over lack of access for aid workers in the
cyclone-ravaged disaster areas of Burma to MFA Secretary of
State Dr. Kao Kim Hourn who is in charge of ASEAN affairs.
Noting the potential for the ASEAN-UN-Burma cooperative
effort to achieve more results, Pol/Ec Chief urged every
effort be made to end forced relocations which would cause
further deaths due to disease and starvation.

2. (SBU) Kao Kim Hourn was clearly pained by the account of
limitations to access and the forced relocations, which he
asserted he had also heard through other sources. Cambodia
had tried its best to formally sway the Burmese regime at the
May 19 ASEAN foreign ministers meeting, but Cambodian FornMin
Hour Namhong had been appalled by the lack of attention
Burmese officials paid to their ASEAN brethren, he noted.
Efforts were being channeled through the ASEAN Secretariat -
which had a team on the ground in Burma - and through
personal interventions between ASEAN officials and their
friends within the Burmese government, he said. On Burma's
commitment to UNSYG Ban to be open to aid workers, Kao Kim
Hourn wondered aloud if members of the top Burmese leadership
were even aware of what was going on or if they were being
shielded from the facts on the ground.

3. (SBU) Burma's ambassador to Cambodia told an ASEAN-EU
Senior Officials Meeting last week in Phnom Penh that the
government was facing too many problems, Kao Kim Hourn
recounted. Between splintered ethnic groups and its economic
transformation from a centrally planned economy to a market
economy, the Burmese government was overwhelmed. Kao Kim
Hourn also noted the EU's strong political messages at the
meeting regarding the extension of ASSK's detention, other
ongoing political detentions, as well as the EU's
condemnation of the referendum. Pol/Ec Chief reiterated our
points about the humanitarian disaster and the critical need
to address these now, noting an embassy DATT effort to secure
blanket overflight clearances from the RGC to assist those
U.S. C-130 military flights delivering aid to Rangoon.
CAMPBELL

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