Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen on Monday evening held a bilateral talk with visiting U.S. President Barack H. Obama at the Peace Palace prior to the 4th ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting.
Both leaders discussed a number of issues including Cambodia’s debt to the U.S., human rights, and democracy, H.E. Prak Sokhonn, Delegate Minister Attached to the Cambodian Prime Minister said at a press conference following the bilateral talk.
On the Cambodia’s debt to the U.S., Samdech Techo Hun Sen requested the U.S. side to use a bilateral mechanism, not the Paris Club of creditors, said the delegate minister.
Samdech Techo Hun Sen proposed to pay back the debt step by step with only 1 percent interest rate per annum and also asked the U.S. to convert at least 70 percent of the debt to Cambodia’s social development assistance through education, cultural conservation and mine clearance, H.E. Prak Sokhonn pointed out.
In reply, the U.S. President told Samdech Techo Hun Sen that the U.S.’ working group will work with Cambodian team to find a consensus for both sides, he said.
Concerning the issues of human rights and democratization process, Samdech Techo Hun Sen informed the U.S. President of the human rights, especially political freedom situation in Cambodia, saying that it is not poorer than that in its neighboring countries, said H.E. Prak Sokhonn.
The Cambodian premier further underlined that Cambodia has been actively working to promote the rule of law, human rights and people’s living conditions.
“There is no political prisoner in Cambodia, but politicians who abused the law, therefore they must be punished in accordance with the law,” said Samdech Techo Hun Sen of the arrest and sentence of Mam Sonando, Beehive radio station’s owner, to 20 years in prison and the conviction of the self-exiled opposition party leader Sam Rainsy.
For his part, visiting U.S. President H.E. Barack Obama expressed thanks to Samdech Techo Hun Sen for his warm hospitality as well as his explanation, stressing that his desire is to see better general situation in Cambodia, said the Cambodian delegate minister.
U.S. President H.E. Barack H. Obama, accompanied by his Secretary of State H.E. Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton, arrived here yesterday evening for the 4th ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting, the 7th East Asia Summit, and related meetings hosted by Cambodia, Chair of ASEAN