US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy (right) shakes hands with Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon (Photo: Reuters)

Phnom Penh (VNA)
– Cambodia told the US on April 25 that it will no longer accept convicted felons with Cambodian heritage being deported to the country and wants to amend the repatriation agreement.

For the past 15 years, the two nations have had a repatriation agreement allowing them to forcibly deport criminals with ties to the other country.

Chum Sounry, a spokesman for Cambodia's foreign ministry, said news of the suspension of the agreement was delivered to W Patrick Murphy, a senior US State Department Asia diplomat who is currently visiting the Southeast Asian nation.

Sounry said it is necessary to amend the agreement as it has been criticised by Cambodian people and Cambodian expats in the US as well as those who had been deported, giving criminals a double punishment.

Cambodia will send the US a new deportation deal adding that the repatriations should be carried out on a voluntary basis and deportees should have the right to visit their families in the US.

The US embassy in Phnom Penh told AFP that it had been informed of Cambodia’s announcement to renegotiate some aspects of the agreement.

The US has expelled more than 500 criminals with Cambodian heritage so far.-VNA