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Immigration law OK'd

Immigration law OK'd

K ING Norodom Sihanouk has given his assent to a controversial immigration law criticized by international organizations and neighboring Vietnam, according to a letter seen by Reuters Sept 26.

"If it's inevitable, please ... sign and promulgate it in accordance with our national constitution," the King wrote in a letter from his Beijing residence to acting head of state Chea Sim and dated Sept 22.

Sihanouk, responding to international and Vietnamese concerns, has called on the National Assembly to amend parts of the legislation passed late last month.

Hanoi has said the immigration law threatens tens of thousands of ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia with deportation.

But Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Manh Cam, ruled out direct intervention.

Sihanouk's letter came in response to one from Chea Sim, in which the parliamentary chief complained that his failure to sign the bill in the King's name had prompted "some of the national press and politicians to take advantage and savagely criticize me.

"Meanwhile, national lawyers have advised me to sign and promulgate the immigration law," Chea Sim wrote, adding that the law could still be amended after it came into effect.

International organizations have expressed concern about the immigration law with UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali been among those petitioning the King and Co-Premiers to have the legislation reconsidered by the NAº.-Reuters

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