Cambodia: National Assembly reiterates fragility of peace

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - A senior National Assembly representative told the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) last week that the Kingdom's hard-won peace and development remain fragile because of increased demagogic and extremist politics and interference by some other countries in its internal affairs, a National Assembly press release issued on Friday said.

A senior National Assembly representative told the
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) last week that the Kingdom's hard-won
peace and development remain fragile because of increased demagogic and
extremist politics and interference by some other countries in its
internal affairs, a National Assembly press release issued on Friday
said.

National Assembly second vice-president Khuon Sodary led a senior
Cambodian delegation to the 141st Assembly of the IPU and related
meetings from Monday to Thursday last week in the Serbian capital,
Belgrade.

The press release said Sodary, who is also chairwoman of the
National Assembly’s Women Parliamentarians Group, said the government
and the National Assembly placed the highest value on peace, security
and political stability that are a “main precondition for socio-economic
development and strengthening of democracy and human rights”.

“Cambodia is implementing a flexible and pragmatic foreign policy
based on the principle that internal reforms increase outside friendship
when based on a spirit of independence.

“Cambodia proposes two further principles – diversification
and respect for democracy – that are the main pillars of global peace
and prosperity,” the press release quoted Sodary as saying.

Chheang Vun, the chairman of the National Assembly’s Commission on
Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Information and Media, told
reporters at a press conference on Saturday after returning from
Belgrade that his delegates had lobbied almost all delegates from
various countries and explained the Cambodian people’s views on
stability, peace and democracy.

“Through this, it was clear that they no longer criticise us on human
rights matters at the IPU, especially in relation to membership rights.

“We talked with some heads of the European Parliament and we are
optimistic that, just maybe, they will hold back imposing sanctions. If
there are sanctions, hopefully not all provisions of the EU’s
‘Everything But Arms’ agreement will be withdrawn,” he said.

The 141st Assembly of the IPU was attended by representatives of some
149 countries, including 70 presidents of national assemblies and 40
deputy presidents, the press release said, with 17 per cent of
participants being young parliamentarians and 30 per cent women.

Kin Phea, the director-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s
International Relations Institute, on Sunday said it was beneficial for
the National Assembly’s concerns to be heard by IPU delegates, whether
or not it had any meaningful effect.

“Others should consider these concerns too because meddling in
internal affairs is not only of concern to Cambodia but also to the
whole region.

“Cambodia has raised this and other countries have also experienced
similar issues, but we associate interfering in our internal affairs
with the fragility of peace . . . It’s time for Cambodia to secure its
hard-earned peace,” he said.

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