Thursday, September 17, 2009
PHNOM PENH, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Japanese oil and gas firm Mitsui Oil Exploration Co has applied to Cambodia for exploration rights in an area of the Gulf of Thailand claimed by both Cambodia and Thailand, officials said on Wednesday.
Cambodia's government spokesman, Ieng Sophalleth, said Mitsui's chairman, Yoshiyuki Kagawa, "assured the prime minister during a meeting on Tuesday that the company was determined to invest in block four" in the contested area.
"Prime Minister Hun Sen told the company's chairman that he welcomed all companies to join in the bidding process in a transparent way," Sophalleth told Reuters by phone.
Mitsui Oil Exploration Co is a unit of Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co Ltd (8031.T).
Hang Chuon Naron, secretary general at the finance ministry, said the government would take some time before granting any concession.
"And Mitsui will have to talk with the Thai side at a later stage on the oil exploration and production," he told Reuters.
Cambodia's exploration area covers 37,000 square km (14,300 sq miles). Another 27,000 square km (10,400 sq miles) thought to be rich in oil and gas deposits is claimed by Thailand.
In February Hun Sen said, referring to the disputed area, that Cambodia's government would "adhere to principles of international law, the win-win policy and good neighbourliness in resolving various issues with all parties involved".
Cambodia does not yet produce oil. Chevron Corp (CVX.N) is the operator of Block A in the Gulf of Thailand but is unlikely to produce oil before 2010 at the earliest. (Reporting by Ek Madra; Editing by Alan Raybould)
Monday, September 14, 2009
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A prosecutor at Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal has formally recommended that five more suspects be investigated for crimes against humanity and other offenses, setting the legal body on a collision course with the country's powerful prime minister.
A statement from the tribunal Tuesday said the acting international co-prosecutor, William Smith of Australia, submitted his recommendation to the co-investigating judges, who would then decide whether to issue arrest warrants.
Citing the confidentiality of the process, the tribunal announcement did not identify the five new suspects. It said the cases involved at least 32 instances of murder, torture, unlawful detention, forced labor, and persecution that constituted violations of Cambodian and international law.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly spoken out against expanding the list of defendants beyond the one now on trial — Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, — and four others in custody.
On Monday, Hun Sen said such action could lead to civil war, a claim doubted by his critics.
"I would like to tell you that if you prosecute (more leaders) without thinking beforehand about national reconciliation and peace, and if war breaks out again and kills 20,000 or 30,000 people, who will be responsible?" Hun Sen said.
The tribunal's Cambodian co-prosecutor opposed further indictments, but the tribunal last week ruled that his international counterpart could seek them. The tribunal, created last year under an agreement reached in 2003 between Cambodia and the United Nations, employs joint teams of Cambodian and international court personnel.
Lars Olsen, a spokesman for the tribunal, said there was no timeframe for action by the co-investigating judges on Smith's submission, made Monday.
The tribunal is seeking justice for the estimated 1.7 million people who died in Cambodia from execution, overwork, disease and malnutrition as a result of the communist regime's radical policies while in power between 1975-79.
The U.N. administrator for the tribunal issued a blunt reminder Tuesday to Hun Sen that the panel was independent.
"It is a clearly established international standard that courts do not seek approval of advice on their work from the executive branch," Knut Rosandhaug said in a statement.
Critics accuse Hun Sen of trying to limit the tribunal's scope to prevent his political allies from being indicted. Hun Sen once served as a Khmer Rouge officer and many of his main allies are also former members of the group.
The tribunal's long-awaited first trial — of Kaing Guek Eav, the Khmer Rouge's chief jailer for war crimes and crimes against humanity — opened in March. A joint trial of the four other defendants is expected within the next two years.
The Khmer Rouge came to power after a bitter 1970-75 civil war, and after being ousted from power in 1979, carried out an insurgency from the jungles until 1999.
Hun Sen has dominated Cambodian politics for more than two decades. He ousted his former co-prime minister in a 1997 coup and has since ruled virtually unchallenged.
PHNOM PENH — The Phnom Penh Post, one of Cambodia's leading newspapers, launched its first-ever Khmer language edition Wednesday, stepping up competition in the country's burgeoning media market.
Australian publisher Ross Dunkley said the paper, which will have a daily print run of 15,000 copies, would focus its reporting on Cambodia's changing economy and business climate as it leaves behind decades of conflict.
"Ultimately a newspaper is a reflection of the society we live in so you can expect the paper to be much more in tune with the new realities of this country," Dunkley said.
The majority of publications in the country's large and lively Cambodian-language press are accused of being aligned with political parties, however Dunkley promised independent reporting.
Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith welcomed the paper, the first full-colour Khmer tabloid in the kingdom's media market, as a "good thing" that would help "widen our free press".
The English version of the Post launched its first daily edition in August last year, after Australian businessmen with stakes in Yangon's The Myanmar Times weekly took a controlling interest in the paper.
The Post, founded by American journalist Michael Hayes 18 years ago, had published every two weeks but Post Media Ltd, the company now behind the paper, has invested heavily in expanded editions.
Pelprek dot com
Shared via AddThis
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A senior World Bank official held talks with the Cambodian government over the forced eviction of people from their homes and said the development bank would continue to work with it on land reform to tackle the problem.
Land ownership is a controversial issue in Cambodia, where legal documents were destroyed and state institutions collapsed under the Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s and the civil war that followed.
The World Bank joined with other aid donors in July to ask the government to halt forced evictions and the problem was raised again by its vice-president for East Asia and the Pacific Region, James Adams, during a visit last week.
"A major focus of the visit was Cambodia's urban land sector and the increasing numbers of disputes and evictions of poor people in urban settlements," the bank said in a statement.
"The discussions on land reform were constructive and it was agreed to continue these discussions over the coming week to agree next steps," it said.
The bank has provided funding of $24.3 million for a land management and administration project from 2002 to 2009, and an estimated 1.1 million land titles were issued, said Bou Saroeun, a spokesman for the World Bank in Phnom Penh.
Other donors such as Germany, Finland and Canada have together provided more than $14 million to support the land title project, Saroeun added.
(Reporting by Ek Madra; Editing by Alan Raybould)
- ► 2010 (172)
- ▼ September (8)