Canada Will Close Embassy Next Month

The Canadian Embassy, which established itself in Phnom Penh in 1992, will close its doors in May, according to a statement issued by the embassy Monday.

Until now, the Canadian Em­bassy has occupied a small corner of the Australian Embassy on Street 254. That country’s diplomats will move into new quarters later this year, and no space has been allotted for their Canadian counterparts.

The Canadian government, acc­ording to an e-mailed statement, “has decided to change the nature of its diplomatic representation in Cambodia…. Our intention is that a Canadian Ambassador in a nearby country will be accredited to Cam­bodia.” The decision to close the em­ba­s­sy, the statement said, came after “serious re-examination of Canada’s current diplomatic representation throughout the world.”

Although the Phnom Penh Em­bassy is closing, the statement continued, new Canadian government offices will be opened, “mainly to take advantage of emerging markets. Three of these have already been opened: two in India and one in Mongolia.”

Consular services for Canadians will be provided by the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh, but citizens will have to travel to Bangkok for passport services. Immi­gration services will be available at the Can­adian High Commission in Singa­pore.

Charge d’affaires for the Canad­ian Embassy Evelyne Coulombe said Tuesday that she could not comment on the closure or the reasons behind it.

Canada has been without an am­bassador to Cambodia since Don­ica Pottie left in 2007. Earlier that year, Canadian media reported the Ph­nom Penh embassy was one of 19 worldwide being considered for closure by the Canadian government. At the time, Ms Pottie said she was unaware of the Can­adian press re­port and stated, “We’re not closing.”

In February, the Canadian government announced that it was drop­ping Cambodia from its list of countries to be targeted for aid funding, but has so far given no indication of which aid programs will be cut or by how much. Tuesday’s sta­tement on the embassy closure said only that, “Canada’s development assistance programming with Cam­bodia…will continue.”

 

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