Re­mains hostage in spat with US

The Phnom Penh Post - - FRONT PAGE - Mech Dara and Erin Han­d­ley

PRIME Min­is­ter Hun Sen hit back yes­ter­day in re­sponse to United States visa sanc­tions by say­ing Cam­bo­dia would no longer as­sist in find­ing and repa­tri­at­ing the re­mains of Amer­i­can sol­diers who lost their lives dur­ing the Viet­nam War.

The step fol­lows a US ban im­posed on Wed­nes­day on cer­tain visas for se­nior For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cials, which came in re­sponse to the King­dom tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend­ing a con­tro­ver­sial 2002 agree­ment to re­ceive cit­i­zens that the US wants to de­port due to prior felony con­vic­tions.

“Cam­bo­dia s u s p e nds co­op­er­at­ing with the US in seek­ing US sol­diers’ bones which went miss­ing in Cam­bo­dia dur­ing the war,” Hun Sen said in a rare in­ter­view with gov­ern­ment mouth­piece Fresh News.

Us­ing a Kh­mer word for “bones”, rather than a more po­lite term trans­lat­ing to “body”, Hun Sen said the sus­pen­sion would re­main in place un­til re­la­tions be­tween Cam­bo­dia and the US im­proved. Hun Sen has ac­cused the US of plot­ting to top­ple the gov­ern­ment, and used Kem Sokha’s al­leged sup­port from the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment to jus­tify his ar­rest this month for “trea­son”.

“The sol­diers who went miss­ing [were] about 80 peo­ple. In the past, we found 40 peo­ple but there still re­main 40 peo­ple [miss­ing]. There­fore the co­op­er­a­tion in seek­ing [them] will have to be sus­pended and we will wait for a so­lu­tion,” he said.

He cited hu­man­i­tar­ian CON­TIN­UED

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