Cablegate: Cambodian Opposition Figure Mu Sochua Pessimistic

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

Sensitive but unclassified. Please handle accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary. Cambodian opposition figure Mu Sochua told
Western diplomats on November 3 that the general political
atmosphere in her country was worsening and that additional
Cambodian political activists would likely flee to Thailand.
End summary.

2. (SBU) Sam Rainsy Party member Mu Sochua briefed Western
diplomats on the Cambodian political situation at a November
3 meeting arranged by the New Zealand Embassy. Sochua was
accompanied by representatives from Forum Asia, a human
rights NGO. Sochua was on her way to Japan where she will
speak at two human rights events.

3. (SBU) Sochua described Hun Sen's political crackdown in
the aftermath of Cambodia's signing of a border agreement
with Vietnam. She said that the general political situation
was worsening, noting that she herself had felt threatened in
the current atmosphere. She stated that she and other party
leaders were counseling calm, even though many in the
rank-and-file wanted to take to the streets to protest
against Hun Sen. Despite current conditions, she would
return to Cambodia even if it meant she would be arrested.
She encouraged the diplomats present to put pressure on the
Hun Sen government, including asking for permission to see
recently-jailed political activists.

4. (SBU) Sochua expressed concern about the safety of the
three members of the Cambodia Watchdog Council (CWC) who
recently fled to Thailand. She said that she expected more
Cambodian political activists to take the same course of
action given the current political situation.

5 (SBU) In a subsequent discussion, the diplomats present,
including Refcoord, described their actions on behalf of the
three CWC members. The Canadian and EU representatives noted
that their Missions had expressed concern about the three to
the Thai government and urged the Thai not to deport them to
Cambodia. The Canadian representative said that he believed
Canada would resettle the three if asked to do so. There was
agreement to remain in contact on the issue and to keep open
the possibility of a joint demarche to the Thai if warranted.

6. (U) This message was cleared by Embassy Phnom Penh.

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