April 21, 2006

Cambodia rejects US request for troops in Iraq

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia has turned down a U.S.
approach on sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, Prime
Minister Hun Sen said on Friday.

"We will not send our armed forces to Iraq because the
issue there is not in the hands of the United Nations," Hun Sen
told reporters.

But even if the U.N. were in command, Cambodia would still
not send troops to Iraq or Afghanistan, he said following a
meeting last week with U.S. Ambassador Joseph A. Mussomeli, who
asked him to consider sending troops.

"Every day we have seen people get killed and taken
hostage" in Iraq, Hun Sen said.

"So I will not let my people, who went through 30 years of
suffering from war, see more horrible days of separation and
suffering from the continued terrorist activities of
decapitating hostages in Iraq," he said.

Cambodia, heavily mined itself and still emerging from
three decades of bloody civil war and the Khmer Rouge "Killing
Fields" in which an estimated 1.7 million people died, is
sending soldiers to Sudan to help clear mines.