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Hun Sen Leaves for Official French Visit

Prime Minister Hun Sen left for France on Thursday, to participate in a five-day official visit at the invitation of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

This is the first visit of the prime minister to France under his third mandate, following elections in July 2008, and is meant “to strengthen bilateral cooperation,” according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong.

Hun Sen will also meet his French counterpart, Francois Fillon, and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Koy Kuong said.

Hun Sen said in public remarks ahead of his departure he would meet with Sarkozy on July 13 and participate in France’s National Day, or Bastille Day, July 14.

He will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

France is one of the most important donors to Cambodia, contributing around $25 million annually in aid.

Laurant Le Marchand, first secretary of French Embassy, said France assists especially in judicial reform, the rule of law, gendarmerie training and continued support for the Khmer Rouge tribunal.