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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cambodian PM "has no plan" to meet Thai counterpart at Mekong summit

Phnom Penh: According Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen still has no plan to hold any separate talks with the Thai prime minister when he leads a high-level Cambodian delegation to attend a summit to be held in Thailand early April.

Koy Kuong said that until 24 March, the Cambodian Foreign Ministry had not yet received any official information that Prime Minister Hun Sen would hold separate bilateral talks with Thai Prime Minister Aphisit, except his multilateral discussions at the summit to be held in Thailand early April.

Cambodia and Thailand have had diplomatic relations problems since Thai troops invaded Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple border area on 15 August 2008.

Koy Kuong added that the diplomatic relations and border talks between Cambodia and Thailand had been at a standstill until now, without any solutions found.

While the two countries' diplomatic relations and border problems have remained unsettled, Thai Prime Minister Aphisit Wetchachiwa, has invited Prime Minister Hun Sen to attend the first Mekong River Commission Summit to be held in Prachuab Khiri Khan, Thailand, between 4 and 5 April.

An announcement issued by the Cambodian Foreign Ministry said that the delegation members to accompany Prime Minister Hun Sen to the summit in Thailand included Hor Namhong, deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation; Cham Prasith, state minister and minister of commerce; Mok Mareth, state minister and minister of environment; Chan Sarun, minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries; Lim Kean-hor, minister of water resources and meteorology, and other high-level officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

The announcement also indicated that at the end of the summit in Thailand, there would be an adoption of a declaration on meeting the needs, keeping the balance towards sustainable development of the Mekong River basin.

Originally published by Reaksmei Kampuchea, Phnom Penh, in Cambodian 25 Mar 10.
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Writers’ conference for Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam opens

A delegation from the Vietnam Writers Association led by its chairman, poet Huu Thinh, attended the third Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Writers’ Conference, which took place in Vientiane on March 24.

Lao Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Somsavad Lengsavad and Minister of Information and Culture Mounkeo Oraboune and Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Ta Minh Chau were present at the event.

The conference heard letters of congratulations sent by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Cambodian Prime Minister Samdec Hunsen.

Speaking at the conference, Lengsavad spoke highly of contributions by the three countries’ writers in strengthening the close ties among their nations. He said he wished writers would create more quality works, and help the people of the three countries--especially young generations--understand more about the tradition of solidarity among the nations.

On behalf of the Vietnamese delegation, poet Huu Thinh promised that Vietnamese writers would try their best, together with their Lao and Cambodian colleagues, to create new spiritual values, helping deepen the literature of the three Indochinese countries.

The conference reviewed the activities of the three associations and exchanged experiences and orientations for development in future.

At the conference, the third annual Mekong Literary Awards were presented to 10 writers from the three countries.

Vietnamese award winners included Ngoc Tu (Thoong B.C) with memoir series ‘Bao Rung’ (Forest Hurricane), Pham Quang Dau with a novel titled ‘Mot ngay la muoi nam’ (One Day is Ten Years) and Thang Sac (Nguyen Chien Thang) with a novel entitled ‘Chu Tu, con la ai’ (Uncle Tu, Who am I). (VNA)
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Cambodia to let foreirgners to own property

PHNOM PENH, March 25 — Cambodia’s Parliament is to debate a law next month that would allow foreigners to own property directly, one of the aims being to attract more investors to the Southeast Asian country.

Until now, foreigners wanting to buy property have had to do it through a Cambodian representative.

“This is a really good thing, because all these modern apartments, the Cambodians don’t have money to buy them,” said Nun Pheany, spokeswoman for the Land Management Ministry. “For condominiums, this is an encouragement to investors.”

Neighbouring countries including Vietnam had passed similar laws, so it was time Cambodia did, she said. “We want to have contact with big investors, to make them feel warm in Cambodia.”

The National Assembly will begin debating the legislation on April 1. It would allow foreigners to own apartments above the ground floor in buildings 30km from the country’s borders. Foreigners will only be able to buy a maximum 49 per cent of any building.

“This law has been sought by the private sector. We’ve wanted it for quite some time,” said Sung Bonna, chief executive of Bonna Realty Group and president of the National Valuers Association.

“This will encourage foreigners, investors to help the recovery. The real estate and construction sectors have been weak,” Sung Bonna said.

Heng Sakara, a manager at All Plan International, developer of the US$55 million (RM187 million) River Palace 31 in Phnom Penh, said the law could attract huge numbers of foreigners to the country.

“Diplomats and investors, most of them want to buy units, apartments for their personal property. Cambodians couldn’t afford to buy all of them,” Heng Sakara said, adding it was good news for his 31-storey project, suspended due to the economic slump.

Cambodia’s economy enjoyed several years of double-digit growth before tourism and the garment sector took a hit from the global economic crisis. The economy probably shrank in 2009.

Sung Bonna said Cambodia’s real estate and construction sectors were hit hard in 2008 and 2009 and forecast that this year would be only a little better.

Output in the construction sector slumped 42 per cent in 2009 to US$1.7 billion, ministry spokeswoman Nun Pheany said. She did not yet have data for 2010. — Reuters
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