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Hun Sen Defends Rice Cartel

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday defended the proposed creation of a Southeast Asian rice cartel that he said could help ensure supplies and stabilize prices of the staple grain.

Dwindling supplies and rising costs of rice have hit many countries across the region in recent months, but leaders in some countries do not support the idea of Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam joining together to control rice supplies.

Hun Sen said Monday an organization of the rice exporting countries should not cause alarm.

Such a grouping could “ensure rice security,” he said.