Country Strengthens Nuclear Transport Laws

The National Assembly ratified three draft laws Monday that would make Cambodia a signatory to several international conventions, including one designed to pro­tect people from contamination by nuclear material.

“We cannot make nuclear wea­pons but Cambodia [could be a place of] transit,” said opposition lawmaker Son Chhay. He said he was concerned that illegal use of Cambodia’s flag of convenience on ships could result in the transport of nuclear substances.

Tea Banh, co-minister of national defense, said it was concerns such as this that inspired Cambodian lawmakers to sign the international convention.

Cambodia will form a committee to cooperate with international partners, that should prevent the nation from ever being used as a transit route for such material, he said.

This is not the first time that parliament has hashed over nuclear concerns. In 2000, the Assembly un­animously agreed to ratify the nu­clear test ban treaty, which made Cambodia join most of the world’s na­tions in a global campaign aimed at preventing nuclear proliferation.

Another draft law, which was met with few concerns Monday, will make Cambodia part of an in­ter­national convention against illegal activities on sea borders.

National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh told the Assembly that sea border is­sues, which are complicated by the matters of oil exploration, are more tangled than those on land.

He warned that international conventions alone cannot defend Cam­bodia’s maritime borders, and cautioned that discovery of large supplies of oil or gas off the coast could cause conflicts much in the same way that it did in the African country of Nigeria.

Finally, the Assembly ratified the draft law on the international con­ven­tion against illegal activities at sea.

During the debates, opposition parliamentarian Kim Suor Phirith requested that the government prevent illegal use of the Cambodian flag by international ships, and complained about foreign fishermen illegally casting their nets in Cambodian waters.


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