Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Officials dismiss Thai protest

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander in Chief Pol Saroeun met with Itthaporn Subhawong, Thailand’s chief air marshal, on Monday in Phnom Penh, as officials from both countries dismissed the significance of Thai protests at the border reportedly planned for this Saturday.

Bangkok’s The Nation newspaper reported on Monday that members of the Peoples’ Alliance for Democracy (PAD), a Thai political party, plan
to hold a rally on Saturday near the Preah Vihear temple complex to protest the supposed loss of Thai sovereignty in the disputed area.

The Thai military, however, discouraged the protesters from following through on their plans. “We should be careful about the protest, as such an activity, despite its good intentions, could affect operating strategy on the ground,” The Nation quoted Thai Army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaeowkamnerd as saying.

Cambodian Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat told the Post that should the protest take place, the PAD protesters will not be permitted to enter Cambodian territory.

“We are not concerned about the protests planned for September 19,” he said. “We will not allow [the protesters] to enter Cambodian soil, and we will exercise our right to self-defence if the situation warrants it.”

In a meeting at RCAF headquarters in Phnom Penh on Monday, Pol Saroeun and Itthaporn reaffirmed the warming of Thai-Cambodian relations that has taken place over the past few weeks.

“This visit is meant to promote understanding and good relations between our two countries and to facilitate training of Cambodian air force members by Thailand,” Itthaporn said. “[Thai air force representatives] have been very warmly received here.”

Pol Saroeun cited Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya’s visit to the border area this past weekend, where he was hosted by Cambodian officials, as an example of cooperation that he hoped to see continue.

“We should forget the conflicts that have happened between us and look forward to improving our relationship,” he said.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fund for roads in Cambodia

Fund for roads in Mekong region
August 26, 2009

Asian Development Bank and the Republic of Korea are supporting road and border improvements in Cambodia to increase economic opportunities and boost trade and tourism in the Mekong region.

The bank’s board of directors approved a US$16.3 million loan for the project, which will upgrade 113 km of the national highway (NR56) from Sisophon, the capital of Banteay Meanchey province to Samraong in Oddar Meanchey – the northwest of the country. The funds will also be used to upgrade a cross-border post with Thailand at O’Smach.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance of Korea is also extending a loan equivalent to US$25.6 million through its Economic Development and Cooperation Fund.

The pot-holed gravel road, that is impassable in the wet season due to flooding cuts through two of the poorest provinces in the country- Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey. It links up with another major route and forms a feeder connection to the region’s east-west corridor – a road network that links Thailand with the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam.

Once completed the improved road and checkpoint will aid cross-border tourism and improve overland travel time to Siem Reap – site of the world famous Angkor Wat temple.

ADB’s loan comes from its concessional fund, which will cover 34% of the project cost. It has a 32-year term with an eight-year grace period and interest rates of 1% and 1.5%. The Government of Cambodia will provide US$6 million to the project, which should be completed by December 2013.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cambodia tourism sector big investment winner

The tourism sector attracted the highest value of investment applications in the first half of the year, according to figures from the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).

The government's investment arm approved seven tourism-related projects worth a combined $354 million over the period, or a little more than a quarter of all projects approved by value.

It also approved 12 agriculture-related projects, worth $323 million out of a total approval package worth $1.22 billion, involving 53 projects.
Approvals were way down on the same period last year, when 49 projects worth $4.42 billion were approved, according to CDC figures.

Yun Heng, deputy director of the Evaluation and Incentive Department at the Cambodian Investment Board, an arm of the CDC, blamed the global financial crisis for the smaller average size of project approvals.

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay, who used to head parliament's finance committee, said the government should develop policies to attract more local investors.

Future Cambodia lawyers officially sworn in

President of Bar Association of Cambodia urges candidates to 'do your best to win your cases'.

Thirty-four new lawyers pose for a photo on the steps of the Appeal Court after being sworn in on Monday.
THIRTY-FIVE law students were officially sworn in by the Appeal Court on Monday, paving the way to the commencement of their one-year probation period and a future as professional barristers and solicitors.

Chiev Songhak, president of the Bar Association of Cambodia, who led the group to the Appeal Court, said during the ceremony that the students were sworn in with the approval of the Bar Council and the Appeal Court's general prosecutor.

Appeal Court prosecutor Nget Sarath told the students that they would be his future rivals and defence counsels for their clients, and urged them to hone their skills.

"You will represent your clients and fight against me, so you have to develop yourselves by understanding Cambodia's laws and regulations, and do your best to win your cases," he said.

One of the 35 students then read out a passage noting the meaning of the oath taken by novice lawyers: "We will perish if we don't fulfill our legal professionalism ... and let us come to harm or perish by lightning, accident, bullets..."

Judge Chuon Sunleng also read out a legal oath and ordered the lawyers to repeat after him that "we are committed to work with our best at the behest of loyalty, justice, dignity, independence, and obey constitutional law and other regulations and laws in Cambodia".

Khem Sophana, 30, one of the students sworn in on Monday, told the Post that the path to a life of law was hard, requiring nine months to study general law, civil law, penal law and the criminal procedure code, followed by a one-year period of probation at an established law firm.