Cambodia’s peace under threat by foreign interference: IPU

Second vice-president Khuon Sudary speaks in Serbia. National Assembly. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PHNOM PENH, Oct 19, 2019, Khmer Times. A National Assembly delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union General Assembly on Tuesday raised concern that peace in the Kingdom is being undermined by political interference in its internal affairs from rich and powerful countries, reported the Khmer Times.

Second vice-president Khuon Sudary led the delegation to the meeting, which ended yesterday in Serbia.

The theme of the assembly this year focused on parliamentary roles and mechanisms in strengthening international law and regional cooperation.

In her remarks to a plenary session on Tuesday, Ms Sudary said the theme of the assembly was timely and pertinent for the obvious reason that the rules-based international order is presently under assault from rising unilateralism, protectionism, unpredictable great power politics and rivalries.

She noted that peace in the Kingdom remains fragile and vulnerable as it is facing multiple challenges stemming from rising political extremism and populism as well as interference from some countries in Cambodia’s internal affairs.

“Despite the fact that our country is under pressure from the threat of being sanctioned, under the excuse of democracy and human rights [violations], the Royal Government of Cambodia still stays together with the people in all circumstances,” Ms Sudary said.

She said that even though Cambodia is a small country, it abides steadfastly to these international values and principles and is committed to advancing an open, inclusive, effective and rules-based multilateral system.

“For that matter, we have embraced a flexible and pragmatic foreign policy under the slogan: ‘Reforming at home and making friends abroad on the basis of independence’,” she said. “At the national level, Cambodia has a firm and clear political commitment to enhance the rule of law, which is the cornerstone of good governance and resilient democracy.”

In a speech at the General Debate of IPU on Wednesday, CPP lawmaker Sok Sokan said Cambodia remains committed to protect and preserve its constitution and defend its national sovereignty while ensuring peace, democracy and sustainable and inclusive development.

“Cambodia sincerely appreciates the international community in supporting our country’s peace and development efforts,” he noted. “We wish not to see our hardship and suffering repeated anywhere else in the world.”

Em Sovannara, an academic and political analyst, yesterday said the Kingdom’s peace is currently being challenged by political tension, noting that Cambodia has been accused of violating human rights and fundamental freedoms by various international organisations.

“I think it’s important for the country itself to address the problem and accept recommendations from the international community,” he said. “Calling on other countries not to interfere in its internal affairs is not the best solution because those countries bring cooperation in many fields with Cambodia.”

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