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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cambodia tells diplomats it is no 'banana republic'


Impovrished children play in the Boeng Kak slum community, Phnom Penh where poverty affects many people

PHNOM PENH — The Cambodian government has told all foreign diplomatic envoys to avoid criticising the country, insisting it is not a "banana republic", in a letter seen by AFP Wednesday.

The foreign ministry letter sent to all diplomatic missions in Cambodia asked them to "avoid interfering in the internal affairs" of the country, regardless of the power of their home nations.

"There have been many occasions, in which some heads of diplomatic missions behaved like a 'proconsul' of his/her country to the Kingdom of Cambodia. They indulged themselves to criticise or to give lessons to the Royal Government of Cambodia," the letter said.

"Such behaviours are not acceptable for Cambodia as a sovereign country and a member of the United Nations. Cambodia is not a BANANA REPUBLIC," it added.

Asked about the letter dated April 26, foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong told AFP it was issued to remind all diplomats not to "exceed the limit of their mandate".

Cambodia last month threatened to expel a United Nations envoy if UN agencies continued "unacceptable interference" in the country.

The move came after UN agencies in Cambodia urged "a transparent and participatory" process as parliament debated an anti-corruption law that was criticised by the opposition and rights groups.

Ranked one of the world's most corrupt countries, Cambodia passed the anti-graft law in parliament on March 11, more than 15 years after legislation was first proposed, but only days after the draft was shared publicly.

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