Phnom Penh terms cuts in US aid and EU sanctions ‘an insult’

The White House has announced the conclusion or limitation of various assistance programs over recent obstacles to democracy in Cambodia. In the last elections for the Senate, the premier's party won all the seats. The European Union threatens "specific targeted measures".

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - "An insult". The Cambodian government thus defines cuts in aid, including military aid, from Washington and threats of sanctions by the European Union (EU), while Prime Minister Hun Sen (photo) declared that the country imports tons of weapons from a secret nation.

Two days ago, the White House announced the conclusion or limitation of various assistance programs operated by the Treasury Department, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Army. They have so far supported the Tax Department, local governments and the Armed Forces of Cambodia.

The United States cited the latest obstacles to democracy in Cambodia, including the recent elections for the Senate, in which Cambodia's People Party (CPP), the party of Prime Minister Hun Sen who has held power for 32 years, won all the seats made available. The vote was held just over three months after the Supreme Court dissolved the main opposition party Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

Over the past 25 years, Washington has spent more than $ 1 billion in support of Cambodia. This is what the White House says, adding that aid for health care, agriculture and mining compensation will continue to be given.

On 26 February, the European Union threatened the Cambodian government with "specific targeted measures", if it does not stop using the judiciary as a "political tool" to harass and intimidate political opponents, civil society, workers' rights activists and defenders of human rights.

Meanwhile, during a speech in the presence of several thousand workers in Kampong Speu province, Hun Sen said yesterday that Cambodia is receiving thousands of tons of military supplies, including weapons, from a foreign country that he did not name. Analysts believe it could be China.

"Last night special goods were shipped to Cambodia," he said. "For special goods I mean something that is secret. However they are not drugs. They are up to 10 thousand tons of supplies. They were transported in containers. A country must have the means for national defence".