EU Ambassador Distances Local Delegation From Resolution

European Union (E.U.) Ambassador to Cambodia Jean-Francois Cautain distanced himself Monday from a European Parliament resolution calling for an independent investigation into July’s disputed national election and the killing of five striking garment workers this month.

The European Parliament on Thursday passed the resolution, which urges the CPP government to accept an “independent, internationally assisted investigation” into the election, and to also thoroughly investigate the five workers killed by military police on January 3.

Mr. Cautain said that the resolution from the E.U., which is Cambodia’s largest single aid donor, had not resulted from advice from the Delegation of the E.U. to Cambodia.

“The European Parliament is an independent E.U. institution and it is not the task or practice of the E.U. Delegation to lobby Members of the European Parliament,” Mr. Cautain wrote in an email.

“The information on the situation of Cambodia is in the public domain and was widely reported on in Europe. Events in Cambodia, positive and negative, are in general increasingly capturing European political and public attention,” he said.

On whether the E.U. Delegation would formally approach Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government to notify it of the E.U. resolution, Mr. Cautain said that the delegation regularly communicated E.U. positions to authorities, including on the disputed election and recent violence.

“The E.U. Delegation has… passed the concerns of the European Parliament in its discussions with the members of the Royal Government on various occasions,” he said.

“The new resolution of the European Parliament underlines the serious concerns present across the E.U. institutions and our joint interest to see the situation in Cambodia develop in a continuous democratic path.”

In response to a question on the possibility of sanctions being imposed on the CPP government if last week’s E.U. resolution is not heeded, Mr. Cautain demurred.

“Possible political and policy options are being considered carefully, in line with the ongoing developments and with the best interest of the Cambodian people in mind,” Mr. Cautain said.

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