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Statement; Deputy Secretary Negroponte in Cambodia

Statement by Deputy Secretary Negroponte in Cambodia

John D. Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

September 16, 2008

It is a pleasure to be in Cambodia and to see the progress that has been made over the past several years. I have had a number of productive meetings, including with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong. We discussed the many positive ways that the United States and Cambodia cooperate, and we explored ways to deepen our bilateral relationship. My trip here is also an opportunity to emphasize our commitment to strong regional engagement in Asia.

The United States and Cambodia have a good and growing relationship. We are working together to improve the lives of Cambodians. The first Peace Corps volunteers recently marked their one-year anniversary. We are spending roughly $32 million per year in Cambodia to improve health and are cooperating closely to address HIV/AIDS and avian influenza. We are also working together in the areas of refugee matters, cultural preservation, and humanitarian demining. Our military-to-military relationship is growing stronger, and we value interaction with Cambodia in the areas of counter-terrorism, law enforcement, and POW/MIA matters.

We welcome Cambodia’s increasing involvement in solving regional and global problems. Once the beneficiary of a United Nations peacekeeping operation, Cambodia today has peacekeepers deployed in Sudan. Cambodians have also provided demining assistance to Afghanistan and Iraq.

We have also been impressed with the strides that Cambodia has made in its efforts to combat trafficking in persons in recent years, and the progress of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The State Department intends to work with Congress to make available an initial contribution of $1.8 million this year to support the tribunal. We expect to be active among donors to the tribunal to ensure that it continues to improve its management and addresses the issue of corruption. This decision to seek funding for the court reflects our commitment to see this process through to its conclusion and to help Cambodians build a society based on the rule of law.

In all of my meetings, I also stressed the importance that the United States places on respect for human rights, open access to the media, and a free and fair electoral process.

Relations between the United States and Cambodia are at a high point, but there is more work to do. We look forward to continuing our efforts with the Royal Government of Cambodia to strengthen the rule of law and further economic development.

Let me now take a few questions.

ENDS

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