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Cambodia to Remain Engaged With the United Nations: King Sihamoni


FILE: Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni, center, greets his government officials upon his arrival for the water festival in front of Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016.

The statement comes amid growing tensions between Cambodia and the United States over Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government’s crackdown on political opponents and civil society.

King Norodom Sihamoni has said that Cambodia remains committed to engagement with the United Nations as an “active” member following calls for the U.N. General Assembly to review the country’s membership in light of the dissolution of the country’s main opposition party.

In a letter dated December 21 and sent to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, King Sihamoni expressed his “deep appreciation” of the organization.

“The Kingdom of Cambodia will remain active in its engagement and contribution to help build a stronger United Nations and advance our shared efforts to ensure peace, development, and human rights for all,” the monarch wrote in the letter, published later on his official website.

The letter comes amid growing tensions between Cambodia and the United States over Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government’s crackdown on political opponents and civil society.

At a recent panel discussion hosted by the United States’ U.N. mission, speakers called for a review of Cambodia’s membership.

The United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding King Sihamoni’s letter, but last week a U.N. spokesman said Guterres was “concerned” by the deteriorating political situation in Cambodia and would “urge the authorities to abide by the commitments they have made in an area of human rights and preserve the democratic achievements the country has made.”

A palace aide said the letter was a routine gesture in response to a letter from Guterres on the occasion of Cambodia’s Independence Day celebrations last month.

“That’s normal that he had to respond,” Oum Daravuth, a palace cabinet member, told VOA Khmer.

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