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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Time to pay airline debt to France, says PM

Time to pay airline debt to France, says PM

Prime Minister Hun Sen called on Minister of Finance Keat Chhon Thursday to repay a US$3 million debt owed to French aircraft firm ATR for the leasing of three airplanes by the now-defunct national carrier Royal Air Cambodge.

Hun Sen said that France had repeatedly asked for the money to be repaid, a debt that has lingered since the airline went bankrupt in 2001.

"Let's repay the [debt], to them. Mister ambassador [France] has raised this debt a few times," Hun Sen told Thursday's economic forum in Phnom Penh. "The [former] president of France [Jacques Chirac] already reminded me twice."

The premier expressed dissatisfaction at the loss of millions of dollars in government funds as a result of the Royal Air Cambodge fiasco, adding that he wished to see the creation of a new national carrier. Keat Chhon confirmed that the ministry has yet repay the ATR. The French embassy declined to comment Thursday.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY NETH PHEAKTRA

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