Sunday and Monday, 28/29.1.2007: Russia Sets Conditions to Cambodia; if Cambodia Can Follow the Conditions, $1.5 Billion Can Be Forgiven

Posted on 29 January 2007. Filed under: Week 493 |

Vol. 11, No. 493, Sunday And Monday, 28/29.1.2007

“After a senior delegation of members of the Cambodian National Assembly returned from a five-day visit to Russia, Mr. Cheam Yeap [chairperson, Commission on Finance and Banking, of the National Assembly], affirmed that Russia considers a cancellation of the debt of $1.5 billion that Cambodia has owed for a long time, if Cambodia follows three conditions so that Russia may cancel the debt.

“He told a council of information that during a trip to participate in the five-day 15th meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, held in Russia from 20 January to 25 January, Samdech Heng Samrin, the President of the Khmer National Assembly, raised four times the request asking Russia to cancel the debt of up to $1.5 billion.

“He continued that Cambodia asked Russia to follow the International Monetary Fund that agreed to cancel a debt of US$82 million, by transferring the amount instead to the government to construct irrigation systems, and considering this model, the Khmer National Assembly asks Russia to cancel the debt that the Khmers owe. He added that concerning the cancellation of the debt, Cambodia is asked to follow three conditions:

  1. Russia asks for the resumption of Moscow-Phnom Penh flights, for the promotion partly of tourism, and partly of investment.
  2. Russia asks Cambodia to strengthen military relations between the two countries by asking the ministries of defense of the two countries to have good relations again, because so many members of the Cambodian armed forces studied in Russia; therefore, the Cambodian Government should accept the request and organize those who studied military affairs in Russia again, and Russia, in turn, promises to accept Cambodian students to study in Russia.
  3. Russia sees the possibility to exploit natural gas in Cambodia, and asks the Cambodian National Assembly to facilitate relations, so that Russia can come to invest in oil drilling, because Russia has long years of experience in [oil and] gas drilling and hopes that Cambodia will allow Russian investors to come to invest in natural gas exploitation in Cambodia.

“As Russia announced that Cambodia owes a debt of up to $1.5 billion, Mr. Cheam Yeap did not state since when Cambodia has owed the debt, nor did he state that Khmers borrowed from Russia up to $1.5 billion to buy which equipment or to build which infrastructure. He only affirmed that Cambodia has owed debts to Russia for a long time, lots of evidence of the debt is in the Russian National Assembly President’s hands, and the President of the Russian National Assembly is prepared to show the evidence of the Khmer debt.

“He added that the current government has a role to repay the debt, although the debt has been owed for a long time, and any later government must repay the debt.

“While Cambodia had had civil war for nearly two decades, it bought many weapons from Russia, and the weapons were brought to be used to kill each other, between Khmers and Khmers only, and there are many pieces of evidence – at least tanks and ground-to-air missiles. The Phnom Penh Government has recently destroyed many ground-to-air missiles. The government was praised by the United States for the destruction of these. Many officers of the current Khmer military affirmed that they received training in weapons’ use in Russia, and these days, those who completed such studies now are only used by the Cambodian Ministry of Defense to keep the warehouses and maintain the weapons, tanks, and armored vehicles. They are not promoted by the Ministry of Defense.

“As for many of those who were trained in Yuon [Vietnam], they are promoted generals. Besides buying weapons, it is not known that any existing infrastructure was repaired or further developed, or any infrastructure was newly constructed with Russian loans.

“Because of the civil war, Cambodia became poor and is indebted to foreign countries, and the culture of borrowing has become the culture of Cambodian leaders until today, and the culture of borrowing from foreign countries has become the basis on which the Cambodian leadership is happily relying to stay in position these days.

“Whether Cambodia will accept the conditions or not is important, because it would be difficult for the government to choose otherwise, for $1.5 billion is a great amount, therefor Cambodia must consider well what to do.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap pointed out that the request for the cancellation of the debt by the President of the Khmer National Assembly has not received a response by the Russian government, because it has to wait for the leaders of the Cambodian government who participated in a conference in Russia, so the Russian government will then give a response, whether it agrees to cancel the debt or not. As for the three conditions by Russia, the President of the Khmer National Assembly will raise the issue to be discussed with the Prime Minister for consideration.” Reach Seima, Vol.2, #140, 29.1.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Sunday and Monday, 28/29. January 2007

Khmer Mekong, Vol.5, #230, 27-28.1.2007

  • Samdech Euv [the Father King] Norodom Sihanouk: Blood of the Sisowath Line Is in My Veins; Some of Those Persons of the Sisowath Line in Phnom Penh Make My Life More Difficult
  • Municipal Governor Was Shouted Down by People [who were evicted to the outskirts of town] While He Was Inaugurating Road Construction Site [Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh]
  • Nhem En [former chief photographer of Tuol Sleng Prison]: No Outside Power Was Behind Khmer Rouge Genocide

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #5952, 29.1.2007

  • $1.5 Billion Debt Owed to Russia; Government Delegation Will Go to Moscow in February to Ask for Debt Cancellation
  • Samdech Euv [Father King] Will Pay for Plane Tickets for Deceived Khmer Women from Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand
  • Singapore Hangs Two Africans [on accusation of drug trafficking]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4197, 28-29.1.2007

  • Officials Want Hundreds of Thousands of Drug Tablets Seized in Banteay Meanchey to Be Burned
  • Telecommunication Cambodia Chooses Royal Government Member [Sarak Khan, Secretary of State of Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications] to Be President of Board of Directors
  • Samdech Hun Sen Builds 50 Stalls for People Selling Kralan [sticky rice cooked in bamboo tubes – in Soutr Nikom, Siem Reap, with the CPP logos put on the stalls]

Reach Seima, Vol.2, #140, 29.1.2007

  • Russia Sets Conditions to Cambodia; If Cambodia Can Follow the Conditions, $1,5 Billion Debt May Be Forgiven
  • Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun [accused of murder of Chea Vichea, head of Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, assassinated 22.1.2004] Wait for Justice from Appeals Court
  • Mr. Son Chhay [SRP parliamentarian, from Phnom Penh] Will Ask Government to Establish Cultural Relations Office with Taiwan

Snadai Khmeng Wat, Vol.6, #119, 29.1.2007

  • Samdech Hun Sen Is Protector of the King, the Throne, and the Monarchy
  • Where There Is Samdech Hun Sen, There Is Development at the Borders

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #317, 28-29.1.2007

  • Demand [by Civil Society organization] for Release of Accused Murderers [Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun] Continues

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One Response to “Sunday and Monday, 28/29.1.2007: Russia Sets Conditions to Cambodia; if Cambodia Can Follow the Conditions, $1.5 Billion Can Be Forgiven”

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[…] we did not see details about the related negotiations, it is interesting to remember what had been reported formerly in 2007: that the Russian government is prepared to consider arrangements for the old debts under three […]

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