October 11, 2006
CAMBODIA will send troops to East Timor following talks between Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and Prime Minister John Howard today.
Mr Hun Sen told a lunch in his honour in the Great Hall of Parliament House that Cambodia would join its second peacekeeping mission since its own civil war.
"Cambodia has sent its troops to Sudan in Africa and this morning Cambodia also proposed to send troops to East Timor in the near future," Mr Hun Sen said.
Mr Hun Sen met with Mr Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Justice Minister Chris Ellison during his visit to Parliament House.
With the Cambodian courts preparing to try former Khmer Rouge members over the country's genocide, Mr Howard announced that Australia would commit $30 million over five years to strengthen Cambodia's criminal justice system.
A further $45 million will go to agricultural projects in the Asian country.
Senator Ellison and Mr Hun Sen also signed a prisoner transfer agreement between the two countries.
But Senator Ellison said Australians jailed in Cambodia should not expect their sentences to be reduced because of the signing.
He said the treaty would benefit both countries but was not designed to cut the sentences of Australians serving jail terms in Cambodia, or vice versa.
"Some people misunderstand the nature of it," he told Parliament.
"It is not a means of reducing a sentence. It's a means of returning a person to their home country to serve out a sentence and also come under community supervision of their home country."
Five Australians are serving prison terms in Cambodia, while there were 13 Cambodian inmates in Australian jails as of May this year