Germany suspends preferential visa treatment for Hun Sen and family and government officials

The German government has suspended preferential visa treatment for private travel by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his family and other government officials in response to Phnom Penh’s ongoing crackdown on media outlets, the opposition and NGOs, The Phnom Penh Post Online reported on Monday.

The German government’s response was sent to the German parliament last Wednesday and it was obtained by The Post on Friday. The government also urged other European Union members to impose similar measures against the Hun Sen government.

Cambodian People’s Party spokesperson Sok Eysan shrugged off the German government’s measure, saying that officials didn’t need to worry about spending money on trips to Germany. “Even if someone encouraged me to go, I would not go to Germany,” he said.

Germany also indefinitely postpones the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia regarding regular political consultation.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for Cambodia’s Council of Ministers, said he did not know what the MoU entails or its signing has been delayed.

Another measure taken by the German Foreign Ministry was the cancellation of a visit to Germany last November by Interior Minister Sar Kheng shortly after the dissolution of the CNRP.

It was reported that the German government was currently revisiting funding for government programmes in Cambodia. But CCP spokesman Eysan said this would breach the Paris Peace Agreement.

Mu Sochua, self-exiled former deputy president of CNRP, said she was satisfied with Germany’s response towards the Cambodian government.