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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Risk warning slammed by PM

Risk warning slammed by PM

Hun Sen again criticises EIU report, calling assessment a bid to stop foreign investment

A REGIONAL economic forum opened Monday in Phnom Penh, with Prime Minister Hun Sen using much of his keynote address to again lash out at the research group Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) for a recent report warning that the Kingdom was one of the countries most vulnerable to unrest due to the global financial crisis.

"Many companies are coming to Cambodia.... Cambodia is called a high-risk country equal to Chad? I sent Cambodian forces to Chad to increase our contribution under the UN umbrella. How could we send [peacekeepers] to Chad when we are considered to be at the same [risk]?" he said.

The two-day Fifth Asia Economic Forum brought together some of the region's top policymakers, economists and development agencies to discuss the economic crisis.

In a speech lasting nearly one hour, Hun Sen singled out the EIU for what he called an overly pessimistic view of Cambodia's stability.

Some countries are in wars and serious unrest, but [the EIU] said those countries are better than Cambodia. Is this an attempt to hinder the foreign inflow of capital into Cambodia?" he said.

Many experts at the forum were upbeat about Cambodia's prospects, saying the government was aware of the impact of the crisis.

"There is a general understanding of how serious the global situation has become," said Douglas Clayton, managing partner at the investment fund Leopard Capital.

"The conference has received a lot of government support including [from] key members of the government's economic planning team. The fact that the prime minister opened it says the government is listening," he said.

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