The European Union threatened Cambodia with economic sanctions on Monday after the country’s ruling party said it had won every seat in a Senate election in which many opposition supporters were stripped of their right to vote. EU foreign ministers said in a statement they were considering “specific targeted measures” against Cambodia, which diplomats said was a warning to long-time Prime Minister Hun Sen that senior government officials could face sanctions. The bloc said it was also reviewing the preferential trade treatment it gives Cambodia because of what rights groups and opposition politicians say is a crackdown by the premier, in power for 30 years, ahead of a national election in July.
“The Council urges Cambodia to restore democracy,” EU foreign ministers said, referring to the name of their formal grouping in Brussels. “In view of recent developments, the Council may consider specific targeted measures if the situation does not improve,” the statement said.
It said the EU would step up its monitoring of its “everything but arms” trade arrangement with Cambodia that allows the Southeast Asian country to export goods, including clothing and textiles, free of tariffs into the bloc, a market of some 500 million people.