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Hor Namhong to talk debt in US

Hor Namhong to talk debt in US

Cambodian Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong will conduct a one-day visit to Washington, at the behest of US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, where he will again lobby for US debt forgiveness.

The one-day visit on Tuesday will also focus on strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries, as well as regional co-operation.

“While Cambodia has the chair of ASEAN, truly we will discuss the regional problem, including the Korean Peninsula,” Hor Namhong told reporters before departing from the Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday afternoon.

He said he will continue to lobby the US to cancel Cambodia’s Lon Nol-era debt.

The debt, racked up by US agricultural aid during the Lon Nol reign, would with interest be worth more than $440 million in 2012.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has called the US loan Cambodia’s “dirty debt”.

“We have negotiated many times already, and we hope that we will do whatever we can for the two parties [US and Cambodia] to reach an agreement,” Hor Namhong said.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua is also in the US, where she is lobbying Washington to withhold military aid until the Kingdom releases the “Boeung Kak 15” and drops the charges against self-exiled party leader Sam Rainsy.

Meanwhile, William Todd presented his credentials as US ambassador to Cambodia to King Norodom Sihamoni last Friday at the Royal Palace.

“The United States looks forward to creating a more effective relationship with the Kingdom of Cambodia, and to strengthening the bonds of friendship and co-operation between the two countries,” Todd told the King.

Todd was sworn in, and arrived in Cambodia on April 23.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at [email protected]

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