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US, Cambodia Discuss Counterterrorism

Cambodian military and defense officials completed a weeklong regional counterterrorism workshop Friday, joining US military officials as well as regional authorities to strengthen cooperation in anticipation of future oil exploration.

"We are ready to cooperate with the international community, as in 2011, Cambodia expects to begin oil production with Chevron," Brig. Gen. Nguon Sam, deputy chief of the legal department of the Ministry of Defense, said. "We are responsible of the security of the transportation of oil from Cambodia to other countries."

Cambodia's naval capacity remains limited, he said. "So we have asked for international cooperation to fight terrorism."

Government representatives from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka joined in the talks, which were held at the Sunway Hotel near the US Embassy in Phnom Penh.

"What we tried to do is help them understand what the legal challenges are, how they can assist in collecting evidence and how they can assist in covering terrorism and fighting terrorists and bringing them to justice," said Lt. Col. Jon Shelburne, a US Marine Corps reservist who lectured at the seminar.

Cambodia has emerged as a willing partner in the US's regional war on terror, following reports in 2003 that the mastermind of the Bali bombings had stayed in Phnom Penh prior to his arrest in Thailand.