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US Subcommittee To Hold Hearing on Old Debt

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, talks with U.S. Congressman Eni Faleomavaega, left, during a meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jan. 7, 2010. Faleomavaega will oversee the hearing.

A US House of Representatives subcommittee is scheduled to discuss Cambodia's war-era debt on Thursday.

Cambodia has repeatedly sought the elimination of $300 million in debt from the Lon Nol era, without success. Prime Minister Hun Sen called it a “dirty” debt that should not be repaid.

The Foreign Affairs Committee's Asia, Pacific and Global Environment Subcommittee will discuss the debt Thursday, according to the committee's website.

According to a position paper to be given by Cambodia at the hearing, the government is seeking a wave of the debt due to a “multitude of challenges and constraints facing the country after the adverse impacts of the global economic and food crisis.”

“We seek the understanding and goodwill of the honorable members of the Congress, the US administration, and the people of the USA in granting a favorable consideration of our request for the cancellation of the related debts,” according to a copy of the paper.

Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat from American Samoa and chairman of the subcommittee, will oversee the hearing. Joseph Yun, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, will be the witness.