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Cambodia Hopes to Turn Russian Debt into Investment

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Time Share:

Prime Minister Hun Sen discussed the outstanding debt Cambodia owed to Russia on Wednesday, with the prime minister urging the debt be turned into investment and development in the country.
The request was made during a meeting between Mr. Hun Sen and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Vladimirovich Dvorkovich, after the first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leader’s Meeting in China on Wednesday.
Kao Kim Houn, Minister Attaché to the prime minister, said Mr. Hun Sen will pay an official visit to Russia in May, with the two countries holding previous discussions on how to resolve the debt. Besides the option of Russia cutting the debt, Mr. Hun Sen made some other suggestions on what to do with the remainder of it.
At Phnom Penh International Airport, Mr. Kim Houn declined to say how much the government still owed Russia, saying it was a conversation that needed to be had between the two countries.
He added that the prime minster proposed turning the remainder of the debt into an allowance for Russian investment in Cambodia’s development.
He said Mr. Hun Sen also asked Russia to use some of the debt to purchase Cambodian exports.
“Samdech Hun Sen also asked that some of the debt could be used to purchase our agriculture products to import into Russia in order to push our economics,” Mr. Kim Houn said.
Previously, Cambodian government officials have estimated the debt to total about $1.5 billion. They said the discussion on the resolution of the outstanding debt has so far been “very positive.”
Last year, Mr. Hun Sen also discussed the debt with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during his official visit to Cambodia in November.

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