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Outgoing US envoy to Cambodia urges development

  • VOA News

The outgoing US ambassador to Cambodia Thursday urged better coordination among international donoers to boost development in the kingndom as he warned of a potentially bleak outlook for unemplooyment here.

Charles Ray, who wraps up a two-and-a-half year posting in Cambodia next month, told a press beifing tha improving the quality of life of hte predominatly agrarian country's poor was essential for building democracy.

"All of us need to work with civil society, with the goverment, with the internaltional organistations, to start doing more to improve the life of the poorest of the poor and that is the subsistence farmers," he said.

Camboida has lacked a coherent plan for rural development, Ray said, noting that "a lot of international donors assistance focous has bveen on the things that haven't yer raelly peneretrated down to the individual farmer, and I don't know that I have answer as to why that is."

Health and eduation idicators are among the lowest in the region as Combodia seeks to recover in particular from the genocide of up to two million of its people under the 1975-79 regime of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge.

Ray said that the human rights for the typical rural Cambodian meant "no hunger, shelter, education for their kids. They'll demand these other things later by they want that first and we need to focus more ont hat, we do."

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.