Rainsy Slams Donor Nations

Officials Say Funds Not Yet Committed

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy lambasted donor nations Tues­day for ignoring the consequences of their loans.

The Japanese government in particular is to blame for not holding Cambodia’s leaders to ac­count, the former finance minister said. “The Japanese are perfect technocrats. They are robots donating money,” he said.

“I deplore the fact that some donor countries do not give enough attention to corruption, to the rule of law, good governance. Unfortunately, very few people want to hear this language.”

Meanwhile, donor countries said Tuesday that they had not yet committed funds to Cam­bodia ahead of a important donors meeting next month.

“We are preparing possible assistance to Cambodia to be announced at the meeting,” said Kazuhiro Nakai, the Japan­ese Embassy’s first secretary. “But at this moment, the contents and scale of Japan’s assistance is under consideration.”

The Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reported Mon­day that Japan and other major donors are set to provide a three-year $1.3 billion package for Cambodia at the Consultative Group meeting scheduled in Tokyo for Feb 25 and 26.

Japan is Cambodia’s largest bilateral donor.

The CG meeting is considered Cambodia’s best chance for international aid. It is also seen as an opportunity for bilateral donors to give weight to discussions with the Cambodian government on social and economic issues.

This year forestry and macroeconomic issues will top the meeting’s agenda. The Cam­bodian government recently has an­nounced policy moves directed at areas donors have long cited as pro­blems.

Sam Rainsy joins a Belgium-based watchdog agency, the International Crisis Group, in calling for donors to withhold aid until the coalition government proves to be stable and committed to reform. (Additional reporting by Mhari Saito)

Donors and analysts pointed out that the Cambodian government receives little direct financial support from international donors, getting instead pledged money for projects.

The government has received no direct budgetary support over the past two years, said R Natara­jan, the chief of the World Bank’s liason office.

(Additional reporting by Mhari Saito)

 

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