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Right royal welcome for Vietnamese

Right royal welcome for Vietnamese

Their Majesties King Sihanouk and Queen Monineath with Vietnam leader

Le Kha Phieu and his wife, Nguyen Thi Bich

THE two-day state visit of the Secretary-General of the Vietnamese Communist Party,

Le Kha Phieu, ended this week with the promise that border issues would be resolved

by the end of the year 2000.

Phieu was accompanied on his visit by the Vietnam Foreign Minister Nguyen Manh Cam

and a number of officials.

Separate meetings were held with King Sihanouk, Chea Sim, Prince Ranariddh, and Prime

Minister Hun Sen to discuss a range of issues such as economics, industry, tourism

and technology.

On the border issue the Vietnamese Foreign Minister said following a meeting with

his Cambodian counterpart Hor Nam Hong: "we proposed that the joint commission

continue their discussion for resolving the problem before the end of the year of

2000".

While the visit might have had a joyous appearance with the crowds of flag waving

school children greeting the delegation not everybody was pleased with the visit.

A small demonstration was held by students who burnt a tyre and Vietnamese flags

outside the University while closely monitored by police.

Plans for an anti-Vietnamese march were scuttled by police and city officials.

A soldier tries to extinguish a tire set on fire by students at Phnom Penh University demonstrating against the visit of Le Kha Phieu and his Vietnamese state delegation

One Funcinpec official said that relations with the Vietnamese were a good barometer

for how tight a grip the CPP felt they had on the country.

He said whenever the CPP were confident in their power they initiated talks with

Vietnam on contentious issues such as the border.

He said it had happened before in1985 and 1992 and was happening again now.

Meanwhile Sam Rainsy Party-appointed senator Kong Korm issued a declaration of his

views of the state visit.

He said that the delegation was the guest of Chea Sim in his capacity as president

of the CPP and not the Cambodian people.

"On behalf of politicians, military officials, soldiers and democratic forces

who suffered as a result of factional fighting on July 5-6, 1997 we consider the

Vietnamese delegation is visiting Cambodia as a reminder of the victorious coup in

July that was the plan of the Yuon."

He concluded his "declaration" with a call to disaffected CPP and Funcinpec

supporters to "join with our forces who love their nation and democracy to stop

national destruction, and open a new page in order to defend and rebuild our country."

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