A senior Foreign Ministry official on Monday said Cambodia’s controversial handling of Montagnard asylum seekers from Vietnam more than a decade ago gave the government the necessary credentials to resettle refugees it will soon take off Australia’s hands as part of a deal signed Friday.
Opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha will begin a tour of former Khmer Rouge strongholds in the northwest on Sunday.
The pair will begin their tour in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng and Samrong districts, according to a statement posted on the CNRP website.
Mr. Rainsy and Mr. Sokha will on Monday then pass through Banteay Meanchey province’s Malai district before visiting Pailin province and Battambang’s Samlot district before returning to Phnom Penh.
Mr. Rainsy said by phone Friday that the trip is not designed to rally support from former Khmer Rouge guerrillas.
“It’s just a coincidence,” he said of the itinerary.
“Oddar Meanchey is the only province I have not been to for five or six years. Since I returned from exile last year, I have been to all the other provinces.”
Anlong Veng, the final resting place of Pol Pot, was the last bastion of the Khmer Rouge, falling to the government in 1998, shortly before Samlot.
Former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary had previously led his forces in Pailin and Malai to defect to the government in 1996.
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