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PM calls out diaspora in Europe

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Hun Sen called on Cambodians living in Europe – both supporters and those against him – to prepare for his upcoming visits to the continent next week and in early July. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP

PM calls out diaspora in Europe

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday called on Cambodians living in Europe – both supporters and those against him – to prepare for his upcoming visits to Budapest next week and Geneva in early July.

“I would like to tell all brothers and sisters in Europe, both those who are preparing to protest and those who are preparing to welcome me – go protest. I will be landing on European soil, in Hungary’s Budapest and Geneva in Switzerland."

“Please ask them for permission to protest in advance. Why? You are good at holding protests, so do it,” Hun Sen said at a graduation ceremony on Koh Pich for more than 3,000 students from the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

The prime minister said he would be in the Hungarian capital of Budapest on June 13, before flying to Tajikistan to attend the Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) meeting on June 14-15. He will then attend an Asean summit in Thailand.

He was to again leave Cambodia for Switzerland on July 2 for a World Trade Organisation meeting to be held in Geneva from July 3-5.

“This year, it is an honour for Cambodia that the director-general of the World Trade Organisation has requested me to deliver a keynote speech at a meeting with member nations in Geneva to share our experiences,” he said.

The WTO will hold its 7th Global Review of Aid for Trade from July 3- 5.

The event is to discuss how Aid for Trade supports economic diversification and empowerment, with a focus on eliminating extreme poverty, particularly through the effective participation of micro, small and medium enterprises and women and youth, the organisation said.

It will also discuss a broader range of trade and development issues, and the continuing role trade can play in stimulating sustainable development.

Government spokesperson Phay Siphan said he was of the view that the WTO had invited the prime minister to share his experiences because Hun Sen was respected for his successful running of the Kingdom.

He said Hun Sen was a man who knew the story of rebuilding a nation ravaged by wars.

“Trade wars affect other countries, especially in the current context of the trade tensions between the US and China."

“As to whether WTO principles can ensure the survival of small countries in trade wars, I believe developing countries around the world being successful will be in the prime minister’s thoughts in Geneva,” Siphan said.

“As the prime minister has previously said, aid should be for a good cause and for developing a nation, and not be used as a tool to take a country hostage,” he added.

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