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PM Hun Sen to BBC: Allowing Westerdam to dock Is humanitarian act, not diverting attention

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Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated that the decision to allow entry for Westerdam cruise ship to Cambodia was a purely humanitarian gesture, not seeking nor diverting attention.

He responded to BBC Southeast Asia correspondent Jonathan Head’s judgmental statement against Cambodian leader’s decision.

“Cambodia’s Hun Sen saw the Westerdam as an opportunity… by attracting so much attention to his offer he not only appeared generous, but also diverted media attention from the European Union decision the same week to withdraw vital trade privileges from Cambodia…,” Jonathan Head wrote on BBC.

“Most of all it gave Hun Sen something he has wanted for a long time; a chance to repair relations with the US,” Jonathan added.

Speaking in a press conference held at the Peace Palace on Monday morning, Premier Hun Sen said his decision was a humanitarian gesture, claiming that he did not know who is on the ship.

“My decision is purely humanitarian action. I did not know anyone on the ship. I only knew the ship was about to run out of food and fuel and was denied entries by several countries. My thought was that if Cambodia did not allow entry, where would the ship be? How many people would die? Where would they be buried or would they be thrown into the sea?” the premier responded.

He expressed regrets the statement by BBC correspondent which undermined his humanitarian actions. He considered the statement as “dirty”.

“I could not imagine that those who are well educated in the civilised country have a dirty attitude towards the humanitarian gesture of a small country. I am pointing out that you [Jonathan] are fortunate to be born in a rich country. However your brain is not better than those of Cambodians,” he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen called Jonathan’s perspective “inhumane” and lacks of compassion to save humanity. Fresh News

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