Fans of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s five-hour, 20-minute address on the Vietnamese border issue last week are in luck – they’ll soon be able to have their own copy.
Speaking yesterday to graduates of Build Bright University, the premier said he plans to release his one-man show in video disc, audio CD and book form in both Khmer and English.
The offering, he said, is both for those wishing to understand Cambodia’s longstanding border dispute with its neighbour, and for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, which has long criticised his treatment of it.
“Even if I explained it to [the SRP] for 10,000 times or 100,000 times, they still do not understand,” said Hun Sen. “[You] think that Hun Sen would be tired to death because of a five hour and 20 minute speech. I can continue for two more hours with more topics, but I thought that listeners would be hungry.”
The SRP has demanded information about the proposed concession of villages to Vietnam in exchange for territory that includes the birthplace of National Assembly President Heng Samrin.
In his address last Thursday, Hun Sen told lawmakers that the exchanges in Kampot, Kampong Cham and Takeo provinces had already been agreed upon, and that negotiations to do the same in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng were under way, all in accordance with a map deposited at the UN by King Father Norodom Sihanouk.
Prince Thomico Sisowath, Sihanouk’s adviser and secretary, said last week that at least one of the proposed concessions, the island of Koh Trol, “is in Khmer land,” according to the map.
SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said that the publication of the speech wasn’t the issue.
“If [Hun Sen] was actually working properly [on the border issue] why doesn’t he allow people, civil society and observers to see the demarcation posts without threats and intimidation by local authorities?” asked Sovann.
To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at [email protected]