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To help ensure that the Khmer Rouge tribunal meets international standards of justice, the creation of a new “special advisor” position would be a welcome development but not a condition for US funding, a senior US diplomat said January 18.

The Foreign Ministry announc­ed January 17 that US officials had re­quested that the “special advisor” post be created and that Washing­ton could then consider whether to recommend funding for the cash-strapped court.

The announcement by the ministry was made following talks with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scot Marciel, who held the first formal US bilateral dialogue with Cambodian authorities January 17.

At a news conference on January 18, Marciel’s remarks appeared to differ from the For­eign Ministry announce­ment.

“The issue of a special advisor is actually not a US idea or proposal,” Marciel told reporters at the US Em­bassy.

“We’ve simply said that we thought that such a thing might be useful and to the extent it strengthens the tribunal it makes it easier for us to consider funding,” he said.

The proposed advisor position was “not a US requirement” but had emerged from Cambodian authorities’ discussions with the UN, Marciel added.

Marciel also said that it was still too soon to say whether the US State Department would recommend funding the tribunal or how much the US Congress might eventually give the court.

Helen Jarvis, the court’s public affairs chief, declined to comment on the possible creation of a special advisor post but said the court will accept funding from any donor country.

“We’re pleased with the progress that has been made to date and we’re working hard to continue within the framework of the agreement that has already been negotiated,” she said.

Sources close to the court have said it is likely to require an additional $100 million in funding to continue operations until 2011. The Cambo­dian side requires an additional $4.7 million by April to continue operating until the end of 2008.

Foreign Ministry Secretary of State Kao Kim Hourn said January 18 that US officials on Thursday had not made the position’s creation a prerequisite for funding.

“It is not a condition for funding,” he said. “It has been said that if the US funding were to be considered in some way, this is something they would like to see,” he added.

During talks with the US delegation on Thursday, the Cambodian side mentioned the name of US na­tional David Talbot, currently deputy prosecutor at the Interna­tional Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Kao Kim Hourn said.

The Cambodian side suggested that Talbot visit the tribunal but he has not been proposed for the special advisor position, Kao Kim Hourn said.

Talbot is to leave the ICTY at the end of 2008, according to media reports.


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