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Interview with Cambodian Government Spokesman on U.N. Secretary General's Statement

In a response to U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan's appeal for Cambodia to continue to cooperate with U.N. special envoy on human rights to Cambodia Yash Ghai, Cambodian spokesman Khieu Kanharith says what Mr. Ghai talks about is a ten-year old song, that might be true ten years ago.

The Cambodian spokesman said he has not talked with Prime Minister Hun Sen but that he believes the prime minister would agree with him.

Khieu Kanharith says the U.N. is undergoing some reforms, and if it wants to give a good example of reform, it should reform its staff in Cambodia first.

The government spokesman says the U.N. should replace all its staff in Cambodia.

Khieu Kanharith says he has never seen any personnel as lazy as the ones at the U.N.'s office for human rights in Cambodia. He also says that they waste a lot of money.

He suggests the personnel includes 80-90% Cambodians who graduate from law schools, some French people and foreigners.

He says that the relationship between the U.N. and Cambodia will remain good, and that it will not suffer any effect.

He goes on to say that Cambodia is the only country that accepts this deal (U.N. office on human rights on its soil), because of the Paris agreement, and that it is good for the people since the U.N. personnel spent the money in Cambodia.

He says that Mr. Yash Ghai does not know how many judges the government has changed, how many laws (legislations) it has proposed.

The Cambodian government spokesman says Mr. Yash Ghai's staff, who prepare the report for him,have been sleeping for ten years.

Mr. Kanharith says that Mr. Ghai can still work in Cambodia.

The statement issued Thursday by the Spokesman for the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan reminded the Cambodian government of the mandates of the Special Representative and the human rights office in Cambodia established in 1993 by the international community to monitor respect for human rights in Cambodia.