Responding to reports that Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong condemned international economic sanctions against Iran during an official trip there this week, a ministry official said Friday that the minister had voiced opposition to any international economic sanctions.
“Referring to the sanctions to Iran he just said that sanction-based policies are not solutions to problems. It means sanctions are bad policy wherever,” ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said. “He said addressing problems in Iran or elsewhere should be continued through negotiations and engagement policy.”
The US, the European Union and the UN Security Council have all recently imposed stricter economic sanctions against Iran for its refusal to end its nuclear programs. Fears have continuously been raised that Iran has genuine plans to make nuclear weapons.
Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency on Tuesday quoted Mr Namhong as telling reporters at a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki that “The sanction-based policies are condemned everywhere and just a positive and constructive policy can solve the problems.”
Mr Kuong did not answer questions about whether Mr Namhong was quoted accurately.
Mr Kuong said he did not know the Cambodian foreign policy if negotiations or engagement policy fail, but that Cambodia opposes the pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“The position of the Cambodian government supports the nuclear energy programs for peaceful development and opposes the nuclear programs for production of nuclear weapons,” he said.
He also said he did not have information on the results of Mr Namhong’s mission, which included the signing of agreements on cooperation in the oil and gas sector.
Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said Cambodia’s opposition to economic sanctions stems from its own experiences in the 1980s when it was the target of economic sanctions that perpetuated poverty in the country.
“It doesn’t help. It only creates poverty, creates misunderstandings and creates hatred,” he said.
A spokesman for the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Wednesday said that Cambodia should support June’s UN Security Council resolution, which curbs transactions by the Iranian agency in control of the country’s nuclear program.