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Cablegate: Cambodia Agrees to Press for Dialogue in Burma;

VZCZCXRO7618
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0890 3381051
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 041051Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1422
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0187
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L PHNOM PENH 000890

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR P, EAP, EAP/MLS - L SCHEIBE, EAP/RSP
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR IO/HR, DRL/IRF
NSC FOR D WALTON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/04/2019
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KDEM KIRF BM CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA AGREES TO PRESS FOR DIALOGUE IN BURMA;
LEANS TO SUPPORT UNGA DEFAMATION OF RELIGIONS RESOLUTION

REF: A. STATE 122639
B. STATE 121789

Classified By: DCM Theodore Allegra, Reason 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: The Ambassador demarched the RGC on the need
for the Government of Burma (GOB) to engage Burma's
democratic opposition and to move forward with democratic
reform and out of isolation. RGC officials agreed that the
2010 elections indeed represented an "open door" for Burma
and were amenable to raising the issue with their GOB and
ASEAN counterparts. Ambassador also raised USG concern
regarding the "Defamation of Religions" resolution at the
UNGA. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) The Ambassador discussed Ref A message regarding the
need for dialogue in Burma with MFA Secretary of State Ouch
Borith, on December 3. Ambassador briefed Ouch Borith on A/S
Campbell and DAS Marciel's early November visit to Burma and
highlighted their key objective of pressing the GOB to engage
democratic opposition -- including Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK)
and the National League for Democracy (NLD). The Ambassador
focused on Burma's need for dialogue, particularly in advance
of the planned 2010 elections. She noted that these
elections represented an opportunity for Burma to move
forward with democratic reform and out of isolation, but that
Burma would need help from friends like Cambodia to do so.
The Ambassador explained that a good first step would be for
the GOB to allow meetings between ASSK and NLD leadership --
particularly members of the NLD's Central Executive Committee
(CEC). The Ambassador emphasized that another bad election
would not help Burma in any way and pressed the MFA to
actively engage the GOB on this issue.

3. (C) Ouch Borith agreed that Burma's planned 2010 elections
were a good opportunity for the GOB to demonstrate an "open
door" for democratic reform and, moreover, agreed that it was
a good time to push forward with an engagement policy.
Noting Cambodia's experience and past challenges with
elections and national reconciliation, he expressed his
belief, and that of Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, that open
and legitimate elections were indeed in the best interests of
the people of Burma. He recalled multiple attempts by ASSK
to meet with the GOB and had no answer for why GOB leadership
would not respond to her overtures. Ouch Borith said that he
would raise this issue of engagement with ASEAN ambassadors
to Burma at the first opportunity.

4. (C) Comment: We are encouraged by the consistent Cambodian
position on Burma and the enthusiasm with which Ouch Borith
responded to the Ambassador's demarche. Prime Minister Hun
Sen has repeatedly stated that Cambodia could play a
constructive role with Burma in the ASEAN context and to make
representations to the Burmese leadership on behalf of all
ASEAN members. With the Prime Minister's imprimatur, both
Hor Namhong and Ouch Borith seem ready and willing to deliver
these messages as often as necessary.

UNGA Resolution on "Defamation of Religions"
--------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Ambassador also raised USG concern regarding the
"Defamation of Religions" Resolution at the UN General
Assembly (Ref B). The Ambassador highlighted Cambodia's
record of religious tolerance, and urged the RGC to consider
voting against the "Defamation of Religions" resolution, or
at least to abstain. Ouch Borith acknowledged and thanked
the Ambassador for her remarks, but expressed Cambodia's
solidarity with the ASEAN position on this issue.
Nonetheless, Ouch Borith promised to look deeper into the
issue and study the U.S. position.
RODLEY

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