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US returns assets

A FTER almost 20 years on ice , the US government has returned nearly $24 million in assets to the Cambodian government which were frozen in US banks when the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975.

"The United States has agreed to release assets including approximately $24 million and two diplomatic properties," said US Embassy spokesman Dave Miller on Nov 15.

Miller added that "negotiations on this issue were concluded and an agreement signed on Oct 6, 1994. The agreement called for assets to be released in 30 days."

The agreement included payments to several US-based claimants who had lost property in Cambodia after the KR takeover .

Once source familiar with the issue but who declined to be named said that as much as $6 million was paid to the owner of an airline called SEAT which was operating during the Lon Nol era and who had lost several aircraft in April 1975.

It is believed the two properties were those which belonged to the Lon Nol government in Washington DC and that they have now been turned over the Cambodian embassy, facilitating the government's ability to establish a fully-functioning diplomatic mission there.

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