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PM Hun Sen to deliver marathon speech

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Prime Minister Hun Sen is scheduled to speak today at the National Assembly, where he is to address the border issue. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Prime Minister Hun Sen has signaled that audiences nationwide could be in for a marathon session when he addresses the National Assembly today with an historical speech on border demarcation that the premier has called on all television and radio stations to broadcast.

Speaking to about 10,000 villagers at the inauguration of National Road 62 in Kampong Thom province’s Kampong Svay district, Hen Sen mocked opposition threats to boycott the speech, which he called on all civil servants and armed forces members to listen to.

“We have to clarify all the problems in the National Assembly, and this is the time to study the history of the border with Vietnam,” Hun Sen said.

“Four hours might be not enough, because there will be slideshows, maps and documents,” he said, adding that televisions would be installed at markets and bus stations to make sure people heard his speech.

On June 17, critics of the government berated the Cambodian People’s Party after it announced it would cede two villages that belong to its eastern neighbour in return for two different villages.

The premier yesterday attacked opposition Sam Rainsy Party members who had threatened to walk out of the speech because the prime minister has not agreed to answer questions in parliament.

“Now if you walk out again, you can do so by two ways: by covering your eyes with your hands and putting cotton wool in your ears, because you don’t want to hear and see,” he said.

SRP lawmaker and spokesman, Yim Sovann said his party had no plan to boycott the premier’s speech but might walk out if he strayed too far off topic or quashed debate.

“We don’t want to say whether we will boycott or not, but we will wait to listen for an answer to our questions and we will wait to see whether the premier will allow debate or not,” he said.

Hun Sen also weighed in with a bit of history yesterday, condemning republican critics of King Father Norodom Sihanouk that had supported the coup that saw him overthrown in 1970 and extending the attack to current members of the SRP as well.

“They [opposition] attack the King Father Norodom Sihanouk because Hun Sen has resolved all the problems left unsolved by Sihanouk. Therefore, it is one narrow attack on two birds – that is the government and the monarchy,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at sokheng.vong@phnompenhpost.com

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