Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday touted a pair of development loans from Japan and France as proof positive of the ruling party’s successes.
“Their assistance to Cambodia ahead of July’s general election truly reflects their trust in Cambodia’s political stability,” Hun Sen said, addressing hundreds at the inauguration of a new water treatment plant in Meanchey district.
Japan’s development agency arm loaned the Kingdom $40.6 million, while the French Agency for Development loaned roughly $20 million toward the $90.4 million water treatment plant. Tomorrow, the Japanese ambassador, Yuji Kumamaru, is expected to sign off on a grant aid extension of more than $36 million for two other projects.
Such funding, said the premier, demonstrated faith in Cambodia.
“If they were not clear [about the political stability in Cambodia], they would not have signed off,” he said.
Pointing to the 2003 elections, after which a year-long deadlock led a number of donor countries to freeze aid, Hun Sen stressed that the willingness of France and Japan to support the government would not go unheeded.
“I will not make my friends [development partners] be disappointed,” said Hun Sen. “When our friend helps us, we have to help our friend.”
The premier also took pains to remind his audience how far the country had come since the fall of the Khmer Rouge, recalling that when he first entered Phnom Penh, a mere 70 people were occupying the capital.
“If there was no liberation day on January 7, 1979, would we survive until today?”
“Now leaders of the Pol Pot regime are standing for trial,” he added.
Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, said he agreed that there has been political stability both before and after elections, but said that this painted only part of the picture, noting that the lives of individuals were far from stable.
“It is a shadow of political stability, and there is a lack of justice,” he said.