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US confirms Obama visit

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US President Barack Obama will come to Cambodia on November. Photograph: Reuters

US President Barack Obama will come to Cambodia on November 19 and 20 to attend the ASEAN Summit, the White House confirmed this weekend, marking the first visit by a sitting US president.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will also attend, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a press briefing Friday.

The trip is part of a four-day regional jaunt – which includes a historic visit to Myanmar – and Obama’s first since his November 6 re-election.

Confirmation from Washington led to renewed efforts from rights groups that have been calling for Obama to seek strict reforms during his visit.

More than 100 local and international civil society groups will file a joint complaint touching on human rights and land issues to the US president, said Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union.

“I will file two separate complaints – one is the joint complaint and another is an individual complaint of my organisation,” he said.

Ou Virak, Cambodian Center for Human Rights president, said his organisation would do the same.

“I will inform him [Obama] about the land issue, human right activists such as Mam Sonando and especially about the court system,” he said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the government welcomed such complaints, as they demonstrated the country’s respect for freedom of expression. 

To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at titthara.may@phnompenhpost.com
With assistance from Abby Seiff at abby.seiff@phnompenhpost.com

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