PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Cambodia has decided to lift its 3-year-old ban on adoptions of children by U.S. citizens, the country's foreign ministry has announced.
Secretary of State Long Visalo made the announcement Monday after meeting with U.S. Ambassador Susan Jacobs, a special adviser for children's issues, the Phnom Penh Post reported.
"We are thinking about the future of Cambodian children, as they will be able to receive a good education after being adopted," Visalo said. "We are not allowing them to be abandoned."
Adoptions will only be allowed for children younger than 8, and will be limited to no more than 200 children a year, Visalo said.
Cambodia banned all foreign adoptions in 2009. The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France and Australia suspended Cambodian adoption petitions in 2001, citing the country's inadequate regulations.
Visalo did not say whether the adoption ban would be lifted for countries other than the United Sates.
Cambodia is working to create the child welfare agencies necessary to expand adoptions to other countries, said Ith Sam Heng, minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation.
Cambodia has experienced problems in the past related to exploitation and trafficking of children, said Am Sam Ath, a supervisor with rights group Licadho.