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U.S. Suspends $25 Million Cambodian Aid Program After Coup

Fri., July 11, 1997

The United States is temporarily halting its $25 million aid program to Cambodia to show displeasure over the subversion of the democratic process by Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, the State Department said Thursday.

After a 30-day review, the United States will resume only those programs that provide humanitarian assistance to the Cambodian people, spokesman Nicholas Burns said.

Programs that support directly or indirectly the government of Cambodia will not be resumed.

The Senate, meantime, adopted a resolution condemning the subversion of democracy and urging the United Nations to consider all options for restoring peace in Cambodia. The nonbinding resolution was approved by voice vote only after deletion of a phrase asking the U.N. to consider sending a peacekeeping force.

“Should the United States send the military into Cambodia? Obviously not,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “Should the United States advocate some military action? I don’t think that’s possible.”

But he and other sponsors of the resolution said the Clinton administration should “bring every pressure to bear on Cambodia” to restore democracy and the rule of law.

Burns said of the aid cutoff: “This is a clear signal to Hun Sen and his associates that the United States will not be conducting business as usual with those individuals,” Burns said.

Burns also said the United States is very pleased with the decision of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to postpone consideration of Cambodia for membership in ASEAN.

In what was widely regarded as a coup, Hun Sen’s forces deposed his rival and First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who will meet on Friday with State Department officials to discuss future steps.

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