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Demining head loses two posts in reshuffle

SAM Sotha was formally replaced Monday as head of the  Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) and ambassador-in-charge of land mine issues, but will be remain an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the deadly munitions.

The transfer, made by royal decree, promoted another of the premier's land mine advisers, Chum Bunrong, to head up the CMAA.

Officials at Monday's handover ceremony said Sam Sotha's removal from the two posts was part of a normal rotation of personnel.

"In order for work to progress, you have to have change," said Prak Sokhonn, a secretary of state at the Council of Ministers who was acting as Hun Sen's representative.

In 1999 Sam Sotha was fired as head of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre as donors demanded that the government's corruption-plagued demining agency be reformed.

But government officials maintain that the most recent shuffle was not a punitive measure against Sam Sotha.

Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith told the Post Sunday that Sam Sotha would be appointed to another government position "later".

Officials said Monday the government remained committed to land mine removal, but that it would need until at least 2020 to complete the task.

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