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Sam Rainsy Takes Listeners' Questions on VOA Call-In Show Feb. 9 - 2005-02-10

Mr. Rainsy said he was very encouraged to have seen strong reaction from the U.S. Congressional leaders to condemn the Cambodian National Assembly's secret vote last week to strip immunity from three members of his party including himself. He said he has not seen this level of concern from the U.S. Congress since the bloody coup in 1997.

Tuesday evening the World Bank Director, James Wolfensohn, called and talked to Rainsy about the economic situation and recent political developments in Cambodia, before Mr. Wolfensohn left for Cambodia.

During his visit to Washington, DC, from February 8 to 11, Rainsy said he has met with Senators John McCain and Mitch McConnell, and plans to meet with Senators Bill Frist, Patrick Leahy and Norm Coleman. In the House side he will meet with Mr. Dana Rohrabacher. He'll meet with Under Secretary of State Mary Utala Wednesday afternoon.

About in the middle of the program, we invited another guest, Mr. Heang Rithy, who is a legal expert on Cambodian constitutional law to explain the secret hand-raising ballot in the National Assembly. Mr. Rithy said the vote was not transparent but acceptable, but the arrest of a SRP member, Mr. Cheam Channy was totally illegal.

We received three calls: Samnang from Thailand asks what Rainsy will do to help reduce corruption in Cambodia; Sophal from Sri Lanka asks what article of the constitution deals with the immunity stripping; and Niza from Siemreap expresses concern and asks if Rainsy will return to Cambodia to continue his work on democracy for Cambodia.