NATIONAL Assembly President Heng Samrin is to urge the Russian government to cancel US$1.5 billion worth of Soviet-era debt during an upcoming visit to the country, officials said.
Heng Samrin, who will visit Moscow and St Petersburg during his November 4-10 visit, is expected to meet with Sergey Mironov, chairman of the Russian federation council’s federal assembly.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Heng Samrin plans to request the cancellation of loans used for the purchase of weapons during the 1980s. Cambodia requested debt-cancellation from Russia in 2006 and 2008, but was unsuccessful both times.
“We don’t want to remind them again, but we do not need to pay back the loan because we borrowed the money from the ex-Soviet Union [which no longer exists],” said Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay.
Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodia Independent Teachers Association, said that cancellation of the debt would benefit every Cambodian.
“Currently, each person in Cambodia has at least $2,000 of debt,” he said.
Cheam Yeap said that Heng Samrin will also try to encourage more Russian investors to do business in Cambodia and will present a medal to Sergey Mironov for promoting friendship ties between the parliaments of Cambodia and Russia. In 2008, Mironov invited Cambodian
parliamentarians to visit Russia for a cultural exchange tour.