Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh will close 2021

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Re: Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh will close 2021

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

‘Sweden’s Embassy Closure’ Not to Affect Diplomatic Ties
AKP Phnom Penh, November 27, 2020 --

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that the closure of Sweden’s Embassy in Cambodia will not ‘affect’ the relations between Cambodia and Sweden.

The remarks came after the Government Offices of Sweden announced on Nov. 26 that the Swedish government decided that “the Embassy of Sweden in Phnom Penh will be closed by the end of 2021”.

“Sweden has good relations with Cambodia. These will now continue in new ways,” read the announcement.

Spokesperson at the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Koy Kuong said today that, “[It is] the internal affairs of Sweden to shut down or open its embassy abroad. The announcement of embassy’s closure does not affect the relations between Cambodia and Sweden.”

According to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the intention is to concurrently accredit the Ambassador in Bangkok to Cambodia, and the activities of the MFA will be transferred to the Embassy in Bangkok.

The MFA will no longer have any staff stationed in Cambodia when the Embassy has been closed, it added.
- AKP
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Re: Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh will close 2021

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

Why did Sweden choose to shutdown its embassy in Cambodia?

Late last month, the government of Sweden made the surprising announcement that it would close its embassy in Phnom Penh at the end of next year, and transfer its diplomatic representation in Cambodia to the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok. Sweden’s decision has prompted many questions, not least, the reason why the government has decided to take this step at this particular juncture.

Sweden’s diplomatic ties with Cambodia date back to 1961, with relations initially handled through the nation’s embassy in Bangkok. Sweden started providing humanitarian and emergency assistance to Cambodia after the overthrow of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, mostly channeled through the United Nations. In 1996, the country opened a development cooperation office in the country – a move that coincided with the formulation of Stockholm’s long-term development cooperation strategy in Cambodia...... Continued.....

https://thediplomat.com/2020/12/why-swe ... -cambodia/
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Re: Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh will close 2021

Post by Bitte_Kein_Lexus »

In the last year or two, they explicitly said they were unhappy with the recent undemocratic developments in Cambodia and were at their wits end. I personally think the reasons were most likely financial/logistical in nature. Sweden is a tiny country, and it's relation to Cambodia is bizarre when you think about it. Many larger countries with sizeable populations/economies don't even have a consulate here. Still, the push towards China and increasing clampdown on elections has probably helped them make their choice.

It's still a shame though, as they've done a lot of good. They've been sponsoring parts of Toul Sleng for a long time, as well as many grassroots organizations.

They also sponsored a lot of students and study programs. My wife studied in Sweden in one of their cohorts of sponsored students/civil servants. They sponsor people from all over the world though, not just here obviously. Soft power approach, but I think they're a bit discouraged and finally seeing that they were getting very little in return for their efforts.
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Re: Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh will close 2021

Post by Joakim »

https://www.voacambodia.com/a/civil-soc ... 09034.html

Civil Society Groups Ask Sweden to “Not Abandon” Cambodia Amid Democratic Decline
22 December 2020
Sun Narin
VOA Khmer
FILE PHOTO - Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Swedish Minister of the Interior Anders Ygeman smile after signing a cooperation agreement between the two countries in Stockholm, Sweden, May 25, 2015. (REUTERS)
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PHNOM PENH —
More than 110 civil society organizations have urged the Swedish government to reverse a decision in November to move its embassy to Thailand, an action observer said at the time was linked to Cambodia’s democratic backslide.

116 local groups penned a letter to Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde asking her to “not abandon” the work done by Sweden to advance “Cambodia’s democratic governance and rule of law.”

“This was a necessary pre-condition to assist the Cambodian people to progress to where we are today – we are grateful for your support,” the letter reads.

The letter was signed by local and international NGOs, associations, worker unions, and some international groups and donors.

In late November, the Swedish government announced the planned closure of its embassy in Phnom Penh, a move some observers said was linked to the Scandinavian country’s decision in June to cease bilateral aid on account of Cambodia’s failing human rights situation.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry said the embassy would be closed at the end of 2021 and its diplomatic presence in Bangkok would be given additional responsibility for Cambodia. It maintained that the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency will continue its work in the country.

Sweden did not give any specific reasons for the decision, only to say that their Foreign Ministry was adapting to “external changes and new monitoring and service requirements,” and that there would be “new ways” to continue the bilateral engagement.

The letter also pointed to Sweden’s value-driven approach, which the groups said had garnered the Scandinavian country “tremendous soft power.”

Ou Virak, the president of the Future Forum think tank, said the decision to close the embassy was taken after political calculations, which were yet to be revealed by the Swedish government.

“In our experience, when a country closes their embassy and moves to another country, the relation between countries will become less and less and then it becomes even more silent,” he said.

He said the situation could be salvaged if both the Cambodian and Swedish governments talked about issues of concern, such as human rights and democracy.

Sweden has been a vocal critic of the government’s ongoing crackdown since 2017, including the dissolution of the primary opposition party, forced closure of independent news organizations, and the targeting of non-governmental organizations.

Solinn Lim, country director for Oxfam in Cambodia, said Sweden had played an important role in contributing to Cambodia’s social and democratic development. She hoped that Sweden would be “patient” for the benefit of the Cambodian people.

“I hope that Sweden will not abandon the long path that they have contributed to in development with Cambodians,” she said. “It is a great loss for Cambodia without the presence of the Swedish embassy.”

In brief comments, Koy Kuong, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Cambodia had nothing to say about Sweden’s decision because it was the “internal affairs of another country.”
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Re: Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh will close 2021

Post by techietraveller84 »

Joakim wrote: Wed Dec 23, 2020 3:57 am https://www.voacambodia.com/a/civil-soc ... 09034.html

Civil Society Groups Ask Sweden to “Not Abandon” Cambodia Amid Democratic Decline
PHNOM PENH —
More than 110 civil society organizations have urged the Swedish government to reverse a decision in November to move its embassy to Thailand, an action observer said at the time was linked to Cambodia’s democratic backslide.

116 local groups penned a letter to Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde asking her to “not abandon” the work done by Sweden to advance “Cambodia’s democratic governance and rule of law.”
Democracy just isn't cool any more in Asia. Wonder why?
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Re: Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh will close 2021

Post by johnny lightning »

Danish Embassy shut years back for the same reasons. Tired of banging their heads against the wall. Wouldn't be surprised to see a few more down the road.
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Re: Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh will close 2021

Post by Queef »

techietraveller84 wrote: Wed Dec 23, 2020 4:59 am
Joakim wrote: Wed Dec 23, 2020 3:57 am https://www.voacambodia.com/a/civil-soc ... 09034.html

Civil Society Groups Ask Sweden to “Not Abandon” Cambodia Amid Democratic Decline
PHNOM PENH —
More than 110 civil society organizations have urged the Swedish government to reverse a decision in November to move its embassy to Thailand, an action observer said at the time was linked to Cambodia’s democratic backslide.

116 local groups penned a letter to Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde asking her to “not abandon” the work done by Sweden to advance “Cambodia’s democratic governance and rule of law.”
Democracy just isn't cool any more in Asia. Wonder why?
It'd be foolish to think that democracy is the only factor at play. Cambodia is among the worst countries in SEA to do business. Labor is no longer cheap. Labor is also poorly qualified since the RGC doesn't put an emphasis on developing the country's human capital.
Large foreign companies have CSR policies in place. Cambodia (EDC) has been vehemently opposing rooftop solar solutions for commercial and industrial. Several factory owners are not up to international standards on so many levels. Since companies can't reach their goals, they must move to a more flexible and welcoming country.

Go to Vietnam where "democracy" is practically non-existent, and you'll find all the companies that recently left Cambodia. Cambodia lost the EBA right when Vietnam secured its own version of the preferential treatment. Eurocham Vietnam is working on securing some major deals between Vietnamese companies and the EU. Eurocham Cambodia? Lol.... Too busy stuffing their faces at the Sofitel and handing out worthless literature.

Truly hoping that more governments will follow Sweden's lead. Cutting ties with an under-performing international aid receiver in a diplomatic way is the best thing to do.
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Re: Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh will close 2021

Post by Alex »

Cambodia is a small country that isn't a major international or even regional player in any way. Now that the "influence by providing aid" approach has clearly failed, it would make sense for the EU countries to have a single EU embassy there instead of tiny little individual ones. Saves money, EU citizens in Cambodia can get the same level of support, and for anything beyond, individual EU countries still have their various organizations (that will however also scale down their presence in Cambodia).
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Re: Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh will close 2021

Post by wendyaspinall »

johnny lightning wrote: Wed Dec 23, 2020 6:17 am Danish Embassy shut years back for the same reasons. Tired of banging their heads against the wall. Wouldn't be surprised to see a few more down the road.
Agree with you.
If the West has stopped providing humanitarian aid to such an inhumane country sooner, it would not be such a nasty place as it is today.
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Re: Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh will close 2021

Post by John Bingham »

Alex wrote: Wed Dec 23, 2020 2:03 pm Cambodia is a small country that isn't a major international or even regional player in any way. Now that the "influence by providing aid" approach has clearly failed, it would make sense for the EU countries to have a single EU embassy there instead of tiny little individual ones. Saves money, EU citizens in Cambodia can get the same level of support, and for anything beyond, individual EU countries still have their various organizations (that will however also scale down their presence in Cambodia).
Actually there are only two other EU embassies I know of, France and Germany. France wants to maintain whatever influence it has here, and the German one is tiny. Then there is the Delegation of The European Union, next to the big guy's house. That's not an embassy though.
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