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Sacked General Proposed for Deputy PM

Gen. Ke Kim Yan, the former commander of the armed forces who was fired in January, will be given a position as deputy prime minister, pending parliamentary approval, officials said Wednesday.

Prime Minsiter Hun Sen fired Ke Kim Yan for improprieties in running a side business, instead of commanding the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, but officials say a proposal for his appointment to deputy prime minister will be made to the National Assembly.

Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh told VOA Khmer Tuesday there was “nothing strange” about the appointment, as Ke Kim Yan had served the military “for a long time.”

Ke Kim Yan served as commander-in-chief for three administrations. His sacking worried some over a split within the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, but one observer said the promotion to deputy prime minister indicated “peace and stability” within the government.

The military command shake-up comes as Cambodia prepares for continued cooperation with the US and set to host a multinational military exercise in 2010, Tea Banh said.

More than 10 countries, including the US, will participate in the exercises, a “heavy responsibility” for Cambodia, Tea Banh said.

Cambodia regularly sends troops on UN peacekeeping missions to Sudan and has joined military exercises with Mongolia and Bangladesh.