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Three US Congressmen Expected for Talks

Three US congressmen are expected to visit Phnom Penh this week, to discuss trade and the potential cancellation of Cambodian debt, officials in Washington said.

Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat from American Samoa; Mike Honda, a Democratic from California; and Joseph Cao, a Republican from Louisiana, are expected to hold talks with Cambodian officials from Jan. 5 through Jan. 7, including Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“The purpose of the congressmen to visit Cambodia is, first, they want to help and discuss with our Cambodian leaders to solve Cambodia’s debt owed to the US during the Lon Nol period,” Cambodia’s ambassador to the US, Hem Heng, told VOA Khmer. “And, second, the delegation also wants to tackle how to clear ordnance from US bombing in the 1970s. Third, the delegation wishes to foster trade relations between Cambodia and the US.”

Congressional officials declined to comment on the trip, citing safety concerns. One congressional source told VOA Khmer the three men were visiting Laos, Japan and Vietnam, along with Cambodia.

Cambodia has requested $300 million in debt relief and recently requested tax-free status for garment exports to the US.