EU Lauds Coalition Steps, Hints at Aid Return

A European Union dispatch from Brussels, Belgium, has lauded Cam­bodia’s first steps toward a coalition government.

The statement, dated Nov 19 and distributed by the German Embassy in Phnom Penh, also hints at full resumption of aid, some of which was suspended after the bloody July 1997 fighting that precipitated the collapse of the coalition government.

“The EU hopes that all sides will continue with this positive approach so that the final details of the coalition arrangement can be agreed and a new government installed as soon as possible,” the statement said. “The EU, which provided substantial support for the electoral process, will then consider the full resumption of aid to Cambodia to assist the country in its reconstruction.

“It also looks forward to working with the new government also on other issues such as human rights and environmental concerns.”

The EU provided in excess of $11 million for elections and was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the election results, which were contested by the opposition Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party. The two parties charged that violations occurred on vote-counting day, but their requests for substantial recounts were denied.

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