Wednesday, January 20, 2010

USA Considers Cambodia’s Debts for Development Aid

By BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The United States of America’s Congressman Eni Faleomavaega has told Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia that he will discuss with his congressmen about turning Cambodia's debt into social assistance for development projects in Cambodia in the future.

Eni Faleomavaega and his two colleagues Congressmen Joseph Cao and Mike Honda raised this issue while paying a courtesy call on Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen in Phnom Penh on January 7. His Excellency Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, His Excellency Keat Chhon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance, and Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce also presented at the meeting.

Eang Sophallet, Personal Assistant to Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, told reporters after the meeting that Mr. Eni Faleomavaega and the two U.S. congressmen have discussed the extension of trade relations between the two countries and also raising the possibility of Cambodia’s debt reduction.

“During the meeting, Congressman Eni Faleomavaega told Prime Minister Hun Sen that he will discuss the debt with his colleagues after returning to the United States,” he said. “It is better if the United States can turn Cambodia’s debt into assistance for development projects in Cambodia in the future.”

Relating to the talk on the possibility of Cambodia’s debt reduction, Eang Sophallet said that Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen appreciated Eni Faleomavaega’s raising of debt reduction and the Prime Minister hopes that the United States will consider the Cambodian request for debt reduction from the USA.

Faleomavaega added that Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen has praised the good relation and cooperation between the countries. He said that he was honored and pleased to meet with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and to talk about trade and tariffs in trying to bring Cambodia’s better status especially in trade with the United States in Cambodia.

“We did touch on the issue of debt obligations, also on questions of trade and tariffs in trying to bring Cambodia’s trade and economic needs and better status especially in trade with the United States,” he told reporters before leaving at the Phnom Penh International Airport on January 7.

Cheam Yeap, Chairman of Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit Commission in the National Assembly of Cambodia, said that today, Cambodia owes several countries including China, Russia and the United States from many decades ago.

Cambodia has asked the American government several times to consider canceling its debt amounting about US$ 300 million borrowed since 1972, he said.

Chairman Cheam Yeap emphasized that so far, the United States has not yet answered to the Royal Government of Cambodia's request for the debt write-off. He added that the Royal Government of Cambodia is also asking the Russian Federation to cancel its debt that amounts around to 1.5 billion U.S. dollars. ///




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