Iran offering Cambodia military aid: report
PHNOM PENH, June 25 (AFP) - Senior Iranian officials have visited
Cambodia to offer military aid including training, it was reported here
The English-language Phnom Penh Post said Commander-in-Chief Ke Kim
Yan initially turned down an offer made three months ago for fear of upsetting
western donors. But it said high-level private discussions had continued.
The report quoted co-Defence Minister Prince Sisowath Sereyrath as
refusing to discuss meetings that have been "put in the top drawer
and locked away."
The prince was quoted as adding that Cambodia "must be careful
not to upset our allies."
Cambodia's other co-Defence Minister Tea Banh vigorously denied the
report. "This story is not true and we completely deny we have ever
had contact with Iranian officials."
"So far our military only has relations with France and the
United States," he said.
Cambodia has recently embarked on a plan to slash its cumbersome
armed forces in a costly project set to be paid for by the World Bank on
the approval of major western donors eager to see the military cut down
to a manageable size.
Cambodia has a ramshackle navy unable to deal with increasing piracy.
Its air force consists of just one working Czechoslavak-made training jet,
several Soviet-era helicopters and a handful of broken-down MiG-21s.