Cambodia team will be present at KL meeting


CAMBODIA will attend the Asean ministerial meeting next week as an observer with its delegation headed by Foreign Minister and co-premier-designate Ung Huot, Asean secretary-general Ajit Singh said yesterday.

“From what I know, the Cambodian delegation will be led by Mr Ung Huot,” he told a news conference, adding that Cambodia still held observer status in the grouping.

“There is no question of Cambodia becoming a member. The question now is really one of timing.”

He also brushed aside suggestions that Asean was interfering in Cambodia’s political crisis through its diplomatic overtures: “Our message to Cambodia is that it has a divided house and that it cannot use force to resolve its problems.

Asean can help bring about a peaceful resolution. But we are not in any way seeking to interfere in their internal affairs.”

Datuk Ajit Singh declined to comment on the progress of the talks currently under way but disclosed that Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas would present a report to his Asean counterparts at an informal dinner in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

Asked if the foreign ministers will meet in advance for a special meeting on Cambodia, he replied: “If there is a need to meet earlier, they will come to Kuala Lumpur earlier and have a meeting.”

He also told reporters that Asean would keep its new 10-nation flag and emblem despite delaying Cambodia’s membership into the grouping.

“We have decided to keep the 10 stalks of paddy and the reason we have maintained it is because this is the ultimate visio of our dream for an Asean 10,” he said.

The new flag, unveiled in May, comprises a blue background with a centred red circle enclosing 10 yellow stalks of rice paddy.

Asean said the 10 stalks of paddy represented “the dream of Asean’s founding fathers for an Asean comprising all the 10 countries in South-east Asia bound together in friendship and solidarity”.

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