Nancy Pelosi Leads US Delegation to Cambodia

Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, is expected to meet with human rights groups in Phnom Penh on Monday during the first stop on a five-nation Asia tour that will focus on human rights, trade and security cooperation.

Ms. Pelosi, a Democrat representing California’s 12th congressional district, arrived in Cambodia on Saturday with a delegation that includes veteran New York congressman Charles Rangel and eight other members of the House of Representatives, according to a statement released by Ms. Pelosi’s office.

U.S. congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, third from left, watches as a deminer from the HALO Trust organization demonstrates a technique in Siem Reap province on Sunday, in a photo posted to her Twitter account.
U.S. congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, third from left, watches as a deminer from the HALO Trust organization demonstrates a technique in Siem Reap province on Sunday, in a photo posted to her Twitter account.

While in Siem Reap province on Sunday, she posted photos to her Twitter account showing her with members of the HALO Trust demining organization and at the Wat Thmey community care site, which assists people with HIV/AIDS and is funded by the US Agency for International Development.

Local rights groups Adhoc and Licadho said they were scheduled to meet with Ms. Pelosi on Monday in Phnom Penh. Thun Saray, president of Adhoc, said he hoped to tell Ms. Pelosi and her delegation of nine other U.S. Congress members about a number of issues affecting Cambodia.

“We have to highlight the crucial issues in Cambodian society today,” Mr. Saray said. “I think the problem of land issues and the problem of freedom of expression are very basic rights and I think the U.S. continues to try to improve the situation in Cambodia.”

Licadho president Pung Chhiv Kek also said her organization was set to meet with the U.S. delegation Monday.

“They would like to know the general situation of Cambodia,” Ms. Chhiv Kek said, declining to comment further until after the meeting.

Sok Ey San, a spokesman for the ruling CPP, said his party had no plans to meet with the delegation.

Mu Sochua, director of public affairs for the CNRP, said she did not know whether opposition officials would meet with the visiting politicians.

In addition to Cambodia, the delegation will visit Burma, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan, according to the statement from Ms. Pelosi’s office.

“Our delegation will discuss ways we can strengthen security cooperation; advance human rights with an emphasis on women, workers and religious minorities; and increase fair trade,” Ms. Pelosi says in the statement.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi, did not respond to requests for comment.

According to the statement, the bipartisan delegation, made up of nine Democrats and one Republican, will also seek a better understanding of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the trip.

The TPP, a proposed trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries, including Vietnam and Japan, has been criticized for the secrecy of its negotiations. So far, Cambodia has not been involved with the treaty.

Ms. Pelosi has been in Congress since 1987. In 2007, she became the first woman to become speaker of the House of Representatives, a position she held until 2011.

In an article marking Ms. Pelosi’s 75th birthday on Thursday, The Washington Post described her as “the most effective leader in Congress.”

mueller@cambodiadaily.com

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