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Hun Sen Claims Returns to Cambodia Triumphant After Firebrand Speech to UN

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Writing on his Facebook page, Hun Sen said: “I would like to tell my compatriots about my mission with a brief statement: success!”

Following his appearance at the United Nations in New York last week, Prime Minister Hun Sen has labeled his visit to the United States a “success”.

Writing on his Facebook page, the premier said: “I would like to tell my compatriots about my mission with a brief statement: success!”

Hun Sen had attended the 73rd General Assembly and other meetings between September 27 and September 30.

"Samdech Techo Hun Sen presented a key statement representing Cambodia, focusing on recent developments and achievements made by the Royal Government and regional and international issues as a common concern,” he said.

He added that he held bilateral discussions with world leaders, saying all meetings were aimed at strengthening cooperation and boosting ties and economic growth in the country.

During his speech to the United Nations, Hun Sen spoke of the legitimacy of July’s general election, which saw his Cambodian People’s Party win all seats in parliament after it banned the opposition.

Hun Sen told the UN that Cambodians were reaping the dividends of peace, stability and rapid economic growth.

He defended the manner in which the elections were organized and said criticism of the process showed “the ambition to interfere” on the part of world powers.

Ear Sophal, an associate professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles, said in an email pointed out that while Hun Sen was speaking at the UN, several hundred protesters were gathered outside to denounce his more than 30-year rule.

“Thus despite all his high-level meetings, the people themselves were very displeased. His party paid for people to fly in to welcome him. It's what happens when you don't have enough of your own supporters to afford their own travel,” he said.

“The claim that it was an assault on the people's will to not recognize the sham election is, in fact, an assault on the illegitimacy of the CPP. It's one thing to win when things are neither free nor fair, but to remove all pretense by dissolving the opposition--even the most hardened supporter must accept that it's a bridge too far.”