PHNOM PENH —
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday warned the United States against interfering in Cambodia’s internal affairs and lauded his government’s efforts to bring “peace” following Khmer Rouge rule.
Praising the country’s development since the end of the long-running civil war in the 1990s, he compared this apparent success story to the conflicts that have engulfed the Middle East in recent years, blaming U.S. interventionism.
“Please look at the Middle East after there was foreign interference – especially in Libya, Syria, Egypt and Iraq as Saddam Hussein was toppled by the U.S.,” Hun Sen said. “Now has Iraq had peace? No. Each day, hundreds of people die. And now even Donald Trump, the candidate for the Republican Party, also claimed that it was a mistake to topple Saddam Hussein by killing him.”
Trump said earlier this month that he had been “against” the 2003 invasion of Iraq by U.S.-led forces and that former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi was toppled because of U.S. pressure.
Ou Virak, president of the Future Forum think tank, said Hun Sen was “afraid they [the United States] might do the same thing to remove the strongman from Cambodia.”
Sok Eysan, ruling Cambodian People’s Party spokesman, said foreign intervention, including the United Nations’ role in Cambodia, was not in the interests of the country’s concerned.
“Our history also proved that UNTAC came to Cambodia and spent more than $2 billion, [but] ended up with nothing. Only we Cambodians talking to each other can bring peace.”