Albright Visit to Cambodia a ‘Possibility’

An adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will visit Cambodia later this month to meet with senior government officials, but US Em­bassy personnel said Al­bright’s arrival here for a three-day tour is still only tentative.

Sry Thamarong, Hun Sen’s in­ternational affairs adviser, said Wednesday he only knew that Albright would come to Cambo­dia, but he was unsure what the purpose of her visit would be.

However, a US Embassy official downplayed the certainty of Al­bright’s visit, saying only that it is a “possibility.”

Albright is scheduled to attend the Asean Regional Forum in Bangkok late this month, with another visit to Indonesia and a possible stop in Japan.

“It’s natural to speculate that she’d be popping over here too,” said US Ambassador Kent Wie­de­mann, though he said no official confirmation has been given by the US Department of State.

If she does come to Cambodia, Wiedemann said, Albright would likely meet with senior Cambod­ian officials.

During those meetings a plan to try former Khmer Rouge leaders—partially negotiated by the US—would be discussed, Wie­demann said.

“The secretary has taken a personal interest in the Khmer Rouge plan,” he said.

But it remains unclear what role the US continues to play in the anticipated Khmer Rouge trial.

Although US Senator John Ker­ry was instrumental in breaking a months-long deadlock in trial negotiations between Cam­bodia and the UN, the action has reverted to those two bodies, and the UN is awaiting the start of Nation­al Assembly debate on the proposed trial law.

The UN has threatened to pull out of trial proceedings if Cam­bodia significantly alters the existing draft law during Assembly de­bate, which government officials say isn’t scheduled yet but is slated to begin “soon.”

Though they claim serious mo­dification to the law is unlikely, legislators said there will be serious debate on the issue and changes could occur.

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