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Foreign Minister, Clinton Meet Amid Growing Rights Concerns

Cambodia’s foreign minister met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on Tuesday.
Cambodia’s foreign minister met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on Tuesday.
ReportersVOA Khmer

Cambodia’s foreign minister met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on Tuesday, amid growing concerns over Cambodia’s rights record and complaints of election irregularities in polls last week.

Clinton will travel to Cambodia for a major Asean conference in Phnom Penh next month, where she said the US has “many issues to discuss.”

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said after the meeting the Cambodia was seeking greater US investment in Cambodia.

“Cambodia hopes that the volume of US investment and trade between the two sides will increase over time,” the foreign minister told a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington.

A group of Cambodian-American protesters gathered outside the State Department during the meeting, demanding the release of 15 demonstrators from prison and improved human rights.

Ou Kim Huot, a protester from Pennsylvania, said the relationship with Cambodia and US has improved, but Cambodia still must improve its rights record.

“We want to see the US with better friends, rather than seeking friendship with dictators who constantly exploit the US,” Ou Kim Huot said.

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Yearlong Political Deadlock Endsi
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Cambodia’s political deadlock has ended. For nearly a year, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has refused to join the government, calling for electoral reforms in a system it says was deeply flawed. Following nearly five hours of meetings between top opposition officials and Prime Minister Hun Sen, that deadlock has ended. The two sides finally reached agreement on a formula for selecting the National Election Committee, which the Rescue Party has said was biased toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Hun Sen and Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy emerged from talks Tuesday smiling and shaking hands. “Victory,” Hun Sen told reporters after the meeting. “You can all applaud.” (Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh)

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