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RCAF commander criticises US debt demands

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Lt Gen Hun Manet said the loan was used to buy weapons that killed Cambodians. Supplied

Lieutenant General Hun Manet, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Infantry Unit, on Saturday said the United States lent money to the Lon Nol regime for weapons that were used to kill Cambodians.

Speaking to soldiers while inaugurating a new building in Siem Reap province’s Varin district, Lt Gen Manet said the US is still demanding more than $500 million in debt from the Lon Nol regime that was loaned to buy weapons.

“There was an attempt in the past to persuade armed forces to join a movement against the government through promises of higher salaries, but it failed because armies have faith in the government and understand the value of peace and the consequences of war,” Mr Manet said.

The US embassy in Phnom Penh declined to comment.

US Ambassador William Heidt has told his Cambodian counterparts that Cambodia should work on a deal with the US to pay its $500 million war debt.

The debt was originally a $274 million loan for food supplies for the Lon Nol regime in the 1960s and 1970s, but has grown to about $500 million today.

“To me, Cambodia does not look like a country that should be in arrears. Buildings are coming up all over the city and foreign investment is coming in,” Mr Heidt has said.

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