Hun Sen scoffs at Europe
PHNOM PENH: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday poohpoohed a resolution passed the previous day by the European Parliament that threatens Cambodia with sanctions over the forced dissolution of its main opposition party.
In the motion, the directly elected legislative body of the European Union said that “if Cambodia is acting in violation of its obligation under the EBA (Everything But Arms) regulation, the tariff preferences it currently enjoys must be temporarily withdrawn.”
The motion said that respect for fundamental human rights is a prerequisite for Cambodia to continue to benefit from the EBA scheme, which gives the country duty-free access to the European Union for exports of all products, except arms and ammunition.
The motion also called on the European External Action Service and the Commission to prepare a list of individuals responsible for the dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party and other serious human rights violations in Cambodia with a view to imposing possible visa restrictions and asset freezes on them.
Hun Sen said yesterday that he is not worried about assets being frozen and taunted the European Union to impose the sanctions without delay.
The prime minister said he has his own assets in Cambodia so they can be used to help build water wells, schools and other education-related projects.
The European Union announced Tuesday that it is suspending funding for Cambodia’s general election next year over the dissolution of the CNRP.
The move follows the Supreme Court’s controversial dissolution last month of the CNRP ahead of the election in which the party had been expected to do well.
Critics say the court’s verdict is only part of a wide-ranging crackdown on opposition politicians and independent media by Hun Sen for fear of losing the next election.