France Signs Off on $115M in Loans and Extradition Treaty

About $115 million worth of concessional loans to Cambodia and a mutual extradition treaty were approved during a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Monday, according to Mr. Hun Sen’s Facebook page.

In a meeting at the Elysee Palace just hours after two opposition lawmakers were beaten in front of the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Mr. Hollande greeted Mr. Hun Sen to discuss the deals.

“French President Francois Hollande will encourage French investors to Cambodia in particular to make investments in aviation, clean water and urban trains,” Mr. Hun Sen wrote, adding that Mr. Hollande plans to visit Phnom Penh in the near future.

In a separate post regarding a meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and other Cambodian and French officials to sign the six documents, the prime minister noted that France has donated $406 million euros (about $450 million) since 1993.

Of the additional concessional loans totaling 104 million euros (about $115 million) announced in the post, Mr. Hun Sen said that 11 million euros were for tourism training schools to be built in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

A sum of 14 million euros will also go toward “education,” it said, while 70 million euros will be provided to construct electricity transmission lines in Kompong Cham, Kratie and Koh Kong provinces.

Ang Vong Vathana, Cambodia’s justice minister, also met with his French counterpart, Christiane Taubira, at the Elysee Palace to ink a deal obliging both countries to extradite criminals indicted in each other’s jurisdictions.

Along with many other opposition figures, CNRP President Sam Rainsy has over the past 20 years made frequent use of his French passport to flee Cambodia to avoid convictions widely seen as politically motivated.

Mr. Rainsy, who Mr. Hun Sen threatened to imprison as recently as Sunday night, could not be reached for comment, but said last year he believed the CNRP is so strong now that he would not flee the country in the future.

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