Prime Minister Hun Sen this weekend cautioned countries against criticizing Burma for human rights abuses, keeping with Asean’s stance of non-interference in the affairs of member countries.
In an interview late last week in India and aired Sunday night on Bayon Television, Hun Sen said he would not be discussing human rights during his visit to Burma, which began Saturday.
“I have no lesson to give on this issue,” he told Indian journalists.
“We do not want to see one country interfere in the affairs of another country,” he said. “What do human rights and democracy mean when one’s sovereignty has been interfered with?”
Hun Sen thanked India for its support over the past 20 years, highlighting its involvement in the peace process 10 years ago and the recent planning for a tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders, which involved an Indian legal expert.
While in India, Hun Sen held talks with President KR Narayanan and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. He was accompanied by a 32-member, high-level delegation including Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.
Hun Sen said he sought India’s help in the development of agriculture in Cambodia and more private investment by Indian companies. India will extend a credit of $10 million to Cambodia for agriculture-related projects.
The two countries were scheduled to sign four agreements—including one on setting up a joint commission in trade, science and technological cooperation—and were expected to discuss boosting trade between the two nations, which now stands at about $14 million per year.
Hun Sen was met Saturday in Rangoon at the airport by Burma’s Senior General Than Shwe and other top members of the military government. Honored with a 19-gun salute after stepping off his plane, Hun Sen was feted by hundreds of students waving flags as he made his way from the airport and into the city.
Foreign ministers of the two nations were to sign a visa-free agreement for diplomats and government officers. Officials in Burma said that the visit would concentrate on strengthening already friendly relations and enhancing trade and political ties.
Hun Sen is scheduled to return from Burma Tuesday morning and meet with Vietnam’s National Assembly President Nong Duc Manh.