Several of Cambodia’s foreign donors said they have no plans to suspend financial assistance to the government, despite the Sam Rainsy Party’s calls to postpone foreign aid during the current political deadlock.
Upon arrival from France Monday, opposition leader Sam Rainsy told reporters that several European countries promised to temporarily suspend aid to Cambodia.
“From today to April, a number of countries within the [European Union] will suspend aid because they cannot provide to an illegitimate government,” he said, without specifying which countries. The countries will continue humanitarian aid, he said, but they will stop financing the government.
At a press conference Monday, Pierre-Andre Wiltzer, a minister in the French Foreign Affairs Ministry, said France would not make any changes to its aid contributions to Cambodia. Financial assistance from France, which tops $25 million a year plus aid for NGOs, is pledged on a long-term basis, he said, and “therefore will not be affected by the political situation.”
Similar comments were made by an official from the German Embassy Tuesday. Asked whether Germany had plans to suspend aid, the official said “definitely not.”
The funding that Germany provides, about $18.4 million allocated on a two-year basis, “is based on consultations with the old government,” the official said.
The official also said that since Germany gives Cambodia grants, rather than loans, its contributions are not required to be approved by the National Assembly. “Whatever we do, it is for the benefit of Cambodia,” the official added.
Assistance from the US, “has continued to NGOs and relevant government bodies,” embassy spokesman David Gainer said Tuesday. But he noted that during the prolonged deadlock, “Cambodia has not been able to make progress in a number of areas,” including meeting the deadline to ratify its membership in the World Trade Organization, approve a Khmer Rouge tribunal and introduce a commercial court.
In 2003, the US contributed about $40 million to Cambodia through the US Agency for International Development, Gainer said.
(By Lor Chandara, Michelle Vachon and Wency Leung)