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Sihanouk to stay in Beijing for further cancer treatment

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090323_03.jpg

Frail King Father sets no deadline for his return to Cambodia

Photo by:
AFP

King Father Sihanouk, shown here in a file photo, will not be back in Cambodia for another couple of months.

KING Father Norodom Sihanouk has said he will remain in Beijing for several months more in order to continue receiving medical treatment. Sihanouk, who is 87, was last in Cambodia in August 2008 and has not fixed a return date.

In a statement issued Saturday from Beijing, he said the Chinese doctors were continuing to treat him for cancer.

"I have the great honour of presenting to my lovely compatriots the kindness [China's] eminent doctors are showing in curing my third cancer (lymphoma B)," he said in a handwritten statement, but added that he did not know when his cancer would be cured.

"Every month at the Beijing Central Hospital there is chemotherapy, injections and a drip (that lasts seven hours). This treatment, which is indispensable, will last four, five or six months," he wrote.

He said his condition was being monitored through the use of MRI and PET scans.

"If it is completely cured, they will provide two more drips (seven hours for each drip) to prevent the cancer coming back."

Sihanouk's statement came three days after the 39th anniversary of the March 1970 coup in which he was overthrown by General Lon Nol, who abolished the Cambodian monarchy and set up a republican regime.

On March 20, he sent a letter of gratitude to Prime Minister Hun Sen, who referred to the 1970 coup in an address on the anniversary.

Sihanouk wrote: "I would like to thank you very much for giving justice to me and our nation's history in your speech."

In his speech at the National Institute of Education's annual congress on March 18, Hun Sen blamed the coup for unleashing decades of civil war and the 1975 victory of Khmer Rouge.

"If there was no coup d'etat on March 18, 1970, dismissing [Sihanouk], the war would not have taken place and the Pol Pot regime would not have been created either," Hun Sen said.

"If they had let Sihanouk lead the country, Cambodia would have developed more and would have prevented millions of deaths."

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