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Hun Sen praised Vietnamese army for liberating Cambodia from Pol Pot

Thursday, November 26, 2009

By Khmerization

Prime Minister Hun Sen (pictured) has praised Vietnam for helping to liberate Cambodia from the yoke of the Khmer Rouge regime, reports Radio Free Asia.

Speaking on the 30th anniversary of a Government and NGO Partnerships on 25th November, Mr. Hun Sen said Cambodia owed a big gratitude to Vietnam. "The one who came to help Cambodia in the 1980s and the one who came to help Cambodia during a time that Cambodia was faced with political and economic sanctions was the one whom we owed the biggest gratitude to", he said.

He added that the Cambodian people had suffered more in the 1980s, after the liberation, due to international sanctions and international supports for the Khmer Rouge. "And the people who supported Pol Pot, after the liberation, after we have toppled Pol Pot, have imposed sanctions on us as the victims of Pol Pot. How do they face up to the moral responsibility?", he added.

The appeal by Mr. Hun Sen for all Khmers to acknowledge Vietnam's gratitude has come under criticism from the opposition parties and critics who said that Vietnam invaded Cambodia and planned to stay permanently, only to withdraw its troops after strong pressures from the international community.

Mr. Son Chhay, MP from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said the Khmer Rouge movement was originally created with the supports of Vietnam. Vietnam only turned against the Khmer Rouge after it stood up to Vietnam's violations of Cambodian territorial integrity. "We must separate clearly the reasons and basis of the invasion and what were the evidences that happened coincidentally was the fact that our people had escaped from the genocide which was helped by the same army (Vietnamese army who supported Pol Pot). In the future, for our neighbours, we cannot always be reminded about the gratitude of these countries all the time, he said.

At the same time, Mr. Hun Sen takes an indirect swipe at Thailand for threatening to close the borders with Cambodia after diplomatic row between the two countries recently. He insinuated that international sanctions in the 1980s did not succeed in bringing Cambodia to its knees. He threatened that should Thailand close the borders, Cambodia will not allow Thai goods to be exported to Cambodia where Thailand had a trade surplus of around $2 billion per year.



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