US denying travel documents in retaliation for gov’t’s deportee stance
MoFA targeted by visa ban
THE United States yesterday banned business and tourist visas for Cambodian Foreign Ministry officials and their families in response to the Kingdom’s refusal to accept “inhumane” deportations of Cambodian citizens convicted of felonies in the US.
The visa restrictions come as tensions with the US have reached a fever pitch following the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha and accusations the US was involved in a plot to topple the government.
The sanctions coincided with the US Embassy issuing a travel alert urging American citizens to “exercise caution”, saying Kem Sokha’s arrest, the expul- sion of American NGO the National Democratic Institute and “anti-American rhetoric by officials” could “raise the overall tensions in the country”.
However, US State Department officials yesterday said the visa ban was “solely related to the Cambodia’s refusal to allow repatriation of their criminal deportees”.
According to State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs spokesman Kevin Brosnahan, CONTINUED