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King Father’s trip non-political

ROYAL adviser Prince Sisowath Thomico held a press conference Monday to emphasise that King Father Norodom Sihanouk will not address political issues during his scheduled visit to Hanoi this week, following appeals that the visit be used as an opportunity to discuss the administration of former Cambodian territories in South Vietnam.

“The King Father was invited by the Vietnamese president to pay a friendship visit; therefore I think that the visit will be used to boost good relations between the governments of Vietnam and Cambodia, and between the people of the two countries,” the prince said.

Sihanouk will not “interfere in political affairs”, but will instead act as an “independent symbol of the Kingdom of Cambodia, in accordance with the Kingdom’s constitution”, he said.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said Monday that Sihanouk was entitled to raise the issue of Kampuchea Krom.

“I hope that the King Father will play his role as stated in the Kingdom’s Constitution as the guarantor of territorial sovereignty,” he said.

In a statement released Sunday, Son Soubert, vice president of the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front, said Sihanouk’s visit could usher in “a new era of frank cooperation” between the two countries.

When contacted on Monday, however, Son Soubert said it was unlikely that sovereignty issues would be discussed. “As the King Father said in his statement that the visit is private and non-political, I don’t expect any of the meetings to be related to border sovereignty,” he said.

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