Hun Sen downplays foreign concern over Cambodia's oil benefits

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh on Tuesday called on foreign countries not to be concerned too much about Cambodia's oil and gas benefits expected to come in 2009-2010.

"We Cambodians will use the benefits from oil and gas properly, " he said while addressing the annual work review of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation.

Part of the benefits will be spent to expand rural roads into national roads across the country, he said.

Earlier this year, he said that the benefits will mainly go to the education and health sectors.

"For nearly 30 years, we have developed our country from zero level to the current prosperity with political stability. During that time, people have only small fish to eat. When have gold ( namely the benefits of oil and gas ), we still know how to develop this country," he said on Tuesday.

"we thank all of the foreigners who have expressed concern about the so-called 'oil curse' for Cambodia," he added.

"Oil curse" used to mean that countries rich in oil and gas can 't benefit from the resources but instead become trapped with corruption and injustice due to their poor management capability.

Currently, Chevron from the united states, LG from South Korea, and a Japanese company have invested and conducted exploration in the oil and gas fields in off-sea Cambodia.

The government declines to give exact figures about the oil reserves. The World Bank has put them at 2 billion barrels while the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) confirmed 700 million barrels.

A UNDP study implied that future oil revenues alone could provide over three times the kingdom's official development assistance received in 2005.

Source: Xinhua

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