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Ban to stop at S-21 during visit to capital

Ban to stop at S-21 during visit to capital

UNITED Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will visit Phnom Penh’s Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum during his upcoming trip to the Kingdom in order to pay respects to victims of the Khmer Rouge, UN officials said.

According to a schedule released by the UN Development Programme yesterday, Ban will arrive in Phnom Penh this evening. He is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen tomorrow morning, followed by a visit to the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal, where he will take questions from court employees.

On Thursday, he will visit Tuol Sleng, and then travel to the Cambodian-Russian Friendship Hospital to unveil a plaque at a methadone clinic.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Ban would also pay a courtesy call to King Norodom Sihamoni following his talks with the prime minister.

The visit has stirred interest among various groups hoping to communicate their grievances to the UN head.

In an open letter dated Friday, the Association of Khmer Rouge victims in Cambodia called on Ban to address allegations of political interference and the obstruction of justice at the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

It claimed the government had engaged in “longstanding and continuing obstruction” of the court’s work, and had violated the UN agreement establishing the tribunal.

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party also said it planned to deliver a letter to Ban when he arrived so as to alert him to the recent legal crackdown on opposition figures.

SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said the letter would ask for Ban’s help in demanding the return of party President Sam Rainsy, who has spent the past year in self-exile and faces jail terms totalling 12 years in connection with a campaign alleging Vietnamese incursions.

UNDP officials said yesterday that they could not confirm whether Ban would be available for unscheduled meetings.

Ban’s visit also includes stops in Vietnam and Thailand, and will conclude in China, where he will attend the closing ceremony of the World Expo in 2010 in Shanghai.

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