PM Blasts UN, Says He Won’t Meet Envoy

Prime Minister Hun Sen criticized the UN Monday for meddling with the county’s sovereignty and using its power to protect terrorists.

Hun Sen also said he would not meet Peter Leuprecht, the UN’s visiting human rights envoy, who arrived in Cambodia Friday for a week-long visit.

In an apparent reference to jailed members of the Cam­bod­ian Freedom Fighters, Hun Sen said the UN should not try to protect terrorists because doing so would implicate the international organization in supporting their crimes.

“I would like to warn human rights not to protect the chief of the armed terrorists,” Hun Sen said at the inauguration of the new Municipal Military Police headquarters in Phnom Penh. “If you dare to let them stay under your wing, you also are guilty.”

Hun Sen’s speech follows Leuprecht’s meeting Sunday with four members of the CFF in Prey Sa prison, where they have been held since last year’s sweeping arrests of suspected members of the anti-government organization.

The confidential meetings included Richard Kiri Kim, the confessed leader of the CFF’s November attack on Phnom Penh, a spokesperson for the UN human rights office said.

“[Government] officials were not so pleased with the confidential interviews. But they allowed them,” the spokesperson said.

Hun Sen said he was too busy to meet with Leuprecht. “I am very busy and always [we talk about] the same things,” he said.

Om Yentieng, advisor to the prime minister and head of the Cambodian Human Rights Com­mittee, said Hun Sen had already informed the UN representative that he was too busy to meet and delegated other government officials to meet with him.

Upon arriving in Cambodia Friday, Leuprecht said he wanted to talk with Hun Sen about the “status” of the CFF suspects.

Although no meeting is scheduled with the Prime Minister, Leuprecht, who travels to Bat­tam­bang province today, still hopes he can meet with Hun Sen, the spokesperson said, adding that Leuprecht will wait until he reads media reports of Hun Sen’s comments before responding.

Hun Sen’s criticisms of the UN Monday were not his first.

In October he marked the ninth anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords by berating the UN’s role in bringing peace to Cambodia, claiming that international peace keepers brought AIDS to the country and left before the election was complete.

On International Human Rights day in December the prime minister accused human rights groups of ignoring the country’s improved rights record while acknowledging their own successes to gain more funding.

During Hun Sen’s speech, which at times elicited loud laughter from the hundreds-strong crowd, he said the UN had also requested a bed and mattress for jailed Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok.

If inmates have mattresses, Hun Sen said, people will not consider jail a prison.

“If I speak like this I am worried [Leuprecht] might stop coming and will stop raising [questions] about the mattress when he meets me,” Hun Sen said.

He also said that Ta Mok is currently sick and is suffering from a broken rib, which he sustained more than 20 years ago in a mine explosion. After the ceremony, Hun Sen said that the UN Dev­elop­ment Program alone was welcome in Cambodia.

“I think that now there are many UN [offices]. The important [offices] we want,” he said. “But we also want to keep enough of our own sovereignty.

“I also don’t­ want other people to disturb [the government] in areas which we are already doing work,” he added.



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