US deny­ing travel doc­u­ments in re­tal­i­a­tion for gov’t’s de­por­tee stance

MoFA tar­geted by visa ban

The Phnom Penh Post - - FRONT PAGE - Erin Han­d­ley and Niem Ch­heng

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

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