Cambodia: Background and U.S. Relations [Updated February 20, 2008]   [open pdf - 171KB]

"Major U.S. goals in Cambodia include promoting good governance, democracy, and human rights, reducing the threat of terrorism, facilitating trade, and bringing former Khmer Rouge leaders to justice. In February 2007, the United States government lifted a ten-year ban on aid to the government of Cambodia, signaling the beginning of fuller engagement with the kingdom. Following Prime Minister Hun Sen's unlawful seizure of power in 1997, the United States prohibited many forms of assistance to the Central Government of Cambodia. The U.S. government has also withheld assistance for the Khmer Rouge tribunal, set up to try leaders of the Communist Party of Kampuchea for crimes against humanity, unless standards of judicial independence and fairness are met. The United States and Cambodia maintain strong ties through aid and trade. Despite foreign aid restrictions, Cambodia is the third largest recipient of United States assistance in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and the Philippines. Most U.S. assistance has been channeled through the many non-governmental organizations that are active in the country. […] Cambodia has made some notable progress, with outside help, in controlling the spread of infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and avian flu, holding elections that are at least procedurally democratic, nurturing a civil society, engaging in counterterrorism efforts, and developing its economy. A number of significant problems remain, however. Weak legal and financial institutions, corruption, political uncertainty, and the autocratic tendencies of Prime Minister Hun Sen have discouraged foreign investment and strained U.S.-Cambodian relations. This report provides historical context, discusses political and economic developments in Cambodia, and raises policy issues regarding U.S.-Cambodian relations. These issues include U.S. foreign assistance to Cambodia, HIV/AIDS, human rights, terrorism, bilateral trade, the Khmer Rouge tribunal, and Cambodia's relations with China."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32986
Public Domain
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