Phnom Phen Hosts Annual Asean Summit

More than 250 delegates ar­rived in Phnom Penh on Sunday, ahead of the Asean Inter-Par­lia­men­tary Organization summit, which opens today.

Main roads were cordoned off as busloads of delegates were whisked through the capital, escorted by po­lice vehicles.                                    The event, which runs through Sept 17, has drawn criticism from those who consider it a waste of government funds.

In response, Cheam Yeap, CPP parliamentarian and deputy head of the meeting’s organizing committee, said that the conference would draw tourists to Cambodia, encourage future legislation and improve the economy.

“There are a lot of advantages from the meeting that are too numerous to elaborate,” he said.

The price tag for the summit and hosting its 283 delegates has been set at $1.2 million.

Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Son Chhay said that In­do­nes­ia spent $600,000 to host the AIPO meeting last year, while Thailand spent $400,000 in 2001.

He accused the government of inflating the summit’s budget by lavishing unnecessary gifts upon the delegates.

Cheam Yeap said that a committee had been formed to establish whether the expenditures were worthwhile.

Son Chhay also said that the sum­mit had never offered any ad­van­tages to Cambodia nor in­spired the National Assembly to pass any resolutions

In addition to Son Chhay’s criticism, the Sam Rainsy Party seized the opportunity to condemn  the new coalition on Sun­day.                                    The statement, addressed to the visiting delegates, denounces both the opposition’s exclusion from the Assembly and the manner in which the current government was formed.

“The Sam Rainsy Party urges all delegates and observers to the AIPO conference to take immediate action in calling on the CPP and Funcinpec leadership to re­con­sider their actions and the con­sequences these actions will have on the meaning of parlia­ment­arian democracy in Cam­bo­dia,” the statement read.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.