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Michelle Obama
US First Lady Michelle Obama addresses an event honoring Black History Month in the East Room of the White House on in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / FILES

Michelle Obama headed to Siem Reap

Michelle Obama is set to become the first sitting United States first lady to visit Cambodia.

Obama will visit Siem Reap on March 21-22 as part of the Let Girls Learn international education initiative run by USAID after a visit to Japan, the White House announced on Tuesday.

While in the Kingdom, she “will see up close how community-driven solutions are changing girls’ lives”, the White House said.

President Obama and the first lady launched the education initiative, in which the Peace Corps will play a prominent role, on Tuesday.

It will initially focus on 11 countries, with Cambodia being the only Asian nation involved.

Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Cambodia in 2012.

At the time, he held what were at the time described as “tense” private talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen that touched on sensitive issues such as human rights abuses.

The fact that Obama was unable to visit the Angkor temples or make any public comments during his brief visit for a US-ASEAN Summit left many Cambodians disappointed.

The US Embassy on Tuesday said it could not provide details beyond what the White House released, including whether or not Michelle Obama will visit Angkor Wat or meet with Hun Sen.

The White House said more details would be forthcoming.

Former first lady Jackie Kennedy made an iconic visit to Cambodia in 1967, four years after her husband and then-US President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.



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