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U.S. has no rights to determine Cambodia's destiny: Hor Namhong


14:37, July 10, 2013

PHNOM PENH, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian senior officials said Wednesday that the United States has no rights to determine the fate of Cambodia, saying that only Cambodian people can decide the nation's future.

"Cambodia is an independent and sovereign state. The future of Cambodia is in the hands of Cambodian people," Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said when asked about the U.S. congressmen's calls for a cut in the more than 70 million U.S. dollars in annual U.S. aid to Cambodia unless Prime Minister Hun Sen allows free elections on July 28.

"The fate of a nation is decided by the people of that nation," he said. "The U.S. provides aid to Cambodia or not, it is up to them."

Koy Kuong, spokesman for Cambodian Foreign Ministry, said, "A few congressmen do not represent the whole U.S. policy and have no rights at all to determine the fate of Cambodia."

Cambodia is set to hold a general election on July 28 for the 123-seat parliament with eight political parties joining the contest.

Sam Rainsy, leader of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, lives in exile and faces prison if he returns to Cambodia.

He fled Cambodia in late 2009 before the court sentenced him to 11 years in prison in absentia for two charges -- removing border poles and publishing a false map of the border with Vietnam, and accusing Hor Namhong of being a member of the Democratic Kampuchea.

Last Saturday, Sam Rainsy announced on his Facebook page that he would return to Cambodia before the general election, but did not set the exact date.

Koy Kuong said Cambodia has its internal laws and will implement the court's verdict if Sam Rainsy returns.

National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito said on Saturday that Sam Rainsy is a prisoner and the Cambodian authority will implement the verdict and arrest him to serve the jail term if he returns.

It is widely expected that the ruling Cambodian People's Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen will win the majority in the forthcoming election.

One of the world's longest-serving leaders, Hun Sen, 61, has been in power for 28 years and had vowed to stay in the post until he is 74.

During the last election in July 2008, Hun Sen's party won 90 seats, while the opposition group totally gained 29 seats.

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