US appoints new envoy to Cambodia

The United States has appointed career diplomat Patrick Murphy as its new envoy to Cambodia.

According to a statement, Mr Murphy’s new position was approved on August 1. The senior diplomat served for over 25 years in the Foreign Services prior to his new appointment as the Ambassador of the United States to Cambodia.

The White House issued a statement last year stating that US President Donald Trump had nominated Mr Murphy to replace outgoing ambassador William Heidt. However, the process was delayed until after last year’s US midterm elections, when Mr Trump re-nominated Mr Murphy.

Previously, the position was held by Mr Heidt, who was appointed as ambassador in August 2015 by the US Senate and was sworn in on September 14, 2015. His term as ambassador has ended.

Government spokesperson Phay Siphan yesterday said Cambodia is ready to welcome the incoming ambassador.

However, responding to a comment by a former opposition member who has claimed that the new ambassador would champion issues of human rights and democracy, Mr Siphan noted that Mr Murphy has no power to meddle in the Kingdom’s affairs.

“His [Mr Murphy’s] duty is only to provide recommendations to the Royal Government and he does not have the right to meddle in Cambodia’s affairs,” Mr Siphan said.

Relations between the US and Cambodia began to sour when the US called on the government to reinstate the now-dissolved CNRP.

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