Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed a scheduled trip to Russia, according to a close aide.
Hun Sen was scheduled to leave Sept 30 and return Oct 4. The trip was canceled Sunday because of security fears in the wake of the Sept 11 terrorist attacks on the US, according to Kyodo News.
A Russian Embassy official refused comment Monday on whether the trip was canceled.
The prime minister was scheduled to meet President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. Hun Sen told officials in February that he would ask Putin for help in shrinking Cambodia’s massive foreign debt.
“The former Soviet Union has helped Cambodia since 1979,” Hun Sen was quoted by Deutsche Presse-Agentur as saying in February. “Since they started at the beginning, they should continue to help until the end.”
Cambodia owes the former Soviet Union and its communist allies an estimated $1.1 billion. Russia alone is owed $800 million.
Countries allied to the Soviet Union also provided Cambodia with much-needed financial aid when the Khmer Rouge fell and a Vietnamese-backed government took power.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong, who once served as ambassador to Russia, visited Moscow in May. He met with foreign ministry officials to lay the groundwork for Hun Sen’s visit.
National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh went to Russia for an official visit in October 2000.