When John Negroponte, a senior US State Department official,
arrives in Cambodia
for an official visit next month, he will encounter human rights groups unhappy
with a host of problems and tension between the ruling party and opposition
still battling over July's election.
Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State, is one of the
highest-ranking US officials
to travel to Cambodia
in recent years.
Over three days starting Sept. 14, he will meet with
government officials, opposition leaders and representatives of civil society,
the embassy said.
"I really think that the fact that the Secretary is
coming is a sign that our relationship is strengthening," US Embassy
spokesman John Johnson said. The visit "will serve to deepen the ties
between our two countries."
Kek Galabru, president of the rights group Licadho, said
Thursday civic organizations hoped to raise a number of issues with Negroponte,
including irregularities in July's election.
"The NGOs would raise the issues of land disputes,
freedom of information, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, for
example, the killing of journalist Khim Sambor, domestic violence, rape and
human trafficking," she said.
Negroponte's visit will come ahead of a scheduled
swearing-in ceremony for newly elected National Assembly members that the Sam
Rainsy and Human Rights parties have threatened to boycott, potentially
deadlocking the formation of the government.
Both parties maintain the elections were fraudulent, with a
high number of irregularities occurring ahead of the polls and on Election Day.