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Cablegate: Cambodia Still Considering Resolutions On Iran,

VZCZCXRO3645
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0932/01 3231315
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 181315Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0121
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 0684
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3236
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2333
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1676

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000932

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, DRL, IO, P, D
USUN FOR AMB. PLAISTED

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/18/2018
TAGS: PREL PHUM CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA STILL CONSIDERING RESOLUTIONS ON IRAN,
BURMA, DPRK

REF: STATE 117889

Classified By: POLITICAL/ECONOMIC SECTION CHIEF GREG LAWLESS FOR REASON
S 1.4 (B, D)

1. (C) SUMMARY: MFA Secretary of State Oouch told DCM
October 18 that the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) was
probably still maintaining its position from last year on
UNGA Third Committee human rights resolutions, noting that
Japan had once again demarched in favor of the DPRK human
rights resolution. Ouch Borith indicated that there may be a
distinction between the official Cambodian line (more
consistent with NAM) and its actual votes. Although Ouch
Borith made representations that he would try to help change
the official line to be more consistent with that of the
U.S., it appears an appeal for strategic absences is likely
the most fruitful course. END SUMMARY.

The U.S. is Watching
--------------------

2. (C) DCM made strong representations based on reftel,
noting that the U.S. would be closely watching this UNGA
Third Committee vote. (NOTE: Ouch Borith formerly served as
Cambodia's USUN PermRep and has overall responsibility for
the U.S. relationship. END NOTE.) Ouch Borith noted that
Cambodia was inclined to maintain its official position of
last year but that he would ask Deputy Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to reconsider the overall stand.
Cambodia, a small country, felt that it was in a difficult
position between the United States and like-minded states on
the one hand and the NAM countries on the other. Officially,
Cambodia supported the proposition that human rights were the
internal affairs of nations, except in those cases that were
brought to the Human Rights Council (HRC). The HRC's role,
he averred, was to provide assistance to nations to address
their human rights situations.

3. (C) On the DPRK, Ouch Borith stated that Japan had asked
Cambodia to vote in favor of the resolution, as the RGC had
done last year. However, even there, Cambodia had different
types of "close" relations with both countries and the
decision was not easy. (NOTE: Japan is the largest provider
of development assistance to Cambodia. Former King Sihanouk
had developed close relations with the DPRK and still depends
on North Korean body guards. Since the ascension of King
Norodom Sihamoni, however, Cambodia has developed much
stronger and growing economic and cultural relations with
South Korea. END NOTE.)

Cambodia Considering
--------------------

4. (C) On Iran and Burma, Ouch Borith alluded to the
collective pressure from states to support no-action motions.
Acknowledging that Burma was an increasing embarrassment for
ASEAN, and that Cambodia wished for Burma to learn from the
Cambodian experience in moving toward greater
democratization, he noted the RGC's representations to
Myanmar to exhibit greater flexibility.

5. (C) The RGC felt great pressure from both sides on this
debate at the UN, Ouch Borith noted. Nonetheless, he would
ensure that the RGC gave the U.S. proposal the utmost
consideration.

UNSC Candidacy Going Well
-------------------------

6. (C) On Cambodia's candidacy to become a non-permanent
member of the UNSC in 2013-2014, Ouch Borith noted that some
63 countries had already offered letters of support. (NOTE:
This includes all ASEAN nations. END NOTE.)

COMMENT
-------

7. (C) In so many words, Ouch Borith was signaling it would
be difficult for the RGC to shift from its official stance,
reinforced in part by its own involvement with a special
rapporteur in the Human Rights Council. However, he clearly
understood the import of the Iran vote and that Cambodia's
yes vote could be seen to be deciding, whereas its absence
could be strategically advantageous. He seemed to apply the
same calculus to Burma. Hence our efforts to reinforce

PHNOM PENH 00000932 002 OF 002


strategic absences by Cambodia's PermRep might bear fruit.
Whether Cambodia will vote in favor of a human rights
resolution on North Korea, as it did last year, is by no
means settled.

8. (C) Per reftel request, Post adjudges the best incentive
to Cambodia is a call from Ambassador Khalilzad to the
Cambodian PermRep, to reinforce the significance we attach to
these Third Committee resolution votes.
RODLEY

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