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Hun Sen returns from Paris, talks of reshuffle

Hun Sen returns from Paris, talks of reshuffle

S ECOND Prime Minister Hun Sen declared his position was safe and confirmed their would be a cabinet reshuffle in the near future. He was speaking on his return to the country from Paris where he was receiving medical treatment.

Samdech Hun Sen reaffirmed to reporters at Pochentong airport on Sept 20 that he would remain as co-premier. He said: "No need to doubt about the co-premiership because the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia clearly stipulates that there will be two prime ministers during the first mandate.

"If there is a need to have one prime minister we must wait until after the 1998 election. So in my opinion, it is better not to expend the brain thinking about this issue....

"I'd like to note there has been some opinion saying that Hun Sen went to Paris and would not come back.

"Now I have already returned to Cambodia," the premier said in response to speculation that he would be replaced as second prime minister and live in exile.

He said: "[A cabinet reshuffle] will occur in the coming few days or weeks. What is going to happen is there will be changes of some ministers in order to secure work efficiency in the government."

He acknowledged that an exchange of views about the cabinet reshuffle took place prior to his departure to Paris on Sept 2, but he did not specify who, among the ministers and deputy-ministers, will be replaced.

When asked about his health , the co-premier said: "Oh good, no problem. I still need to continue some treatment." The co-premier appeared to be relaxed and smiling.

Security arrangements for his arrival at Pochentong airport were extensive and unusually tight.

Soldiers in combat fatigues armed with rifles in ready-to-fight positions took up their deployment around the parking area before the plane carrying Hun Sen and his wife had come to a stop.

Early in the morning a group of armed soldiers, one equipped with B-40 rocket launcher, stood guard at the Independence Monument just across the street from the second premier's residence.

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