- The Washington Times - Friday, February 14, 2003

Treasonable apology
The king of Cambodia has publicly rebuked his ambassador to the United States for an "unpardonable act of treason" involving an unauthorized apology that, the king said, dishonored the kingdom.
Cambodian Ambassador Roland Eng last month sent a letter to Sakthip Krairiksh, Thailand's ambassador in Washington, to express his "profound regret" over the "uncivilized" behavior of Cambodian rioters who burned the Thai Embassy in Cambodia and looted Thai-owned businesses.
The riots were sparked by rumors that a Thai actress said Cambodia's famous Angkor Wat temple complex really belonged to Thailand. The actress later attributed the comment to a character she portrayed two years ago in a television drama and insisted she, personally, never claimed Thai ownership of the ancient temple, which is considered a symbol of Cambodia.
King Norodom Sihanouk posted a copy of Mr. Eng's letter in his palace late Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reported from the capital, Phnom Penh.
"The Royal Government of Cambodia has already expressed its regret to the Royal Government of Thailand," the king said in a handwritten notation on the copy of the letter.
"This act of national treason is unpardonable," he wrote, adding that the ambassador's apology served "to humiliate and drag through the mud compatriots and his own race."
"This letter very gravely dishonors the Kingdom of Cambodia, its king, its people, its government and has caused a loss of face and dignity to the Khmer nation," the king said.
The ambassador, in his Jan. 30 letter, said he had contacted "as many Thai friends as possible to convey my sincere apologies and profound regret for the harm that has been done to the noble Thai people."
"Although I do not have all the elements to explain what sparked these events to such a dimension, I also cannot hide how shameful I feel before such uncivilized behavior demonstrated by the rioters," Mr. Eng added.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong also criticized the ambassador in a letter to the embassy in Washington.
"First, the government's position is to express our regret but not apology," Mr. Namhong wrote. "Secondly, your excellency has used the word 'uncivilized,' which seems to insult our nation."
Mr. Eng responded that he was referring to a "small group of extremists not … the entire Cambodian people."

Briefing Cyprus
The U.S. ambassador to Cyprus yesterday briefed President Glafcos Clerides on the Bush administration's position on Iraq and thanked him for support in the war on terrorism.
"What I did here was to make the government aware of the U.S. perspective," Ambassador Michael Klosson told reporters in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. "I talked in very broad terms about Iraq and explained to him the thinking of my government."
Mr. Klosson added praise for efforts Cyprus has taken to combat terrorism, including tough measures against money laundering.
"In the war against terrorism, Cyprus has been a very strong partner, and we have really appreciated he support they have been providing," he said.
Mr. Klosson also repeated U.S. support for a plan proposed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the reunification of Cyprus' Greek and Turkish communities.
"The U.S. is strongly committed and at the highest level to the settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Kofi Annan plan," he said.
Mr. Klosson said the United States "is leaving no stone unturned" in diplomatic efforts to get the Greek and Turkish sides to agree to the plan by its Feb. 28 deadline. However, he added, "time is certainly getting shorter."
Cyprus' diplomacy will go into high gear over the next two weeks, as Mr. Annan and Thomas Weston, the U.S. special envoy for Cyprus, plan visits to the island.
Mr. Weston is due to arrive Feb. 21 for meetings with Mr. Clerides and Rauf Denktash, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey.
Mr. Annan will visit Turkey on Feb. 24 and Greece the next day. He is due to visit Cyprus from Feb. 26 to 28.

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