US’ Asean Ambassador Slammed for Rights Remarks

Cambodia’s ambassador to Asean on Friday rebuked his U.S. counterpart for comments she made on the country’s human rights situation, asking her to refrain from “criticizing Cambodia inappropriately.”

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Nina Hachigian, the U.S. ambassador to Asean, said that the her country’s “key priority is to see Cambodia develop into a strong democracy that respects human rights and supports a thriving civil society.”

“We urge the Cambodian government to continue to create a more just society and improve its commitment to democracy and human rights,” she added during a teleconference recapping last month’s U.S.-Asean Summit in California.

In a letter addressed to Ms. Hachigian, Norng Sakal, Cambodia’s envoy to Asean, said the U.S. ambassador had strayed from her “duty” when critiquing the Cambodian government.

“As the Ambassador of the United States to ASEAN, your utmost duty is to solely focus on how to follow up and enhance ASEAN-US strategic partnership and not on interference in an improper manner in Cambodia’s internal affairs,” Mr. Sakal wrote.

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