Minister Hospitalized for Several Hours While Visiting US

Minister of Foreign Affairs and In­ter­national Cooperation Hor Nam­hong was hospitalized for several hours Saturday while traveling to visit a new Cambodian honorary consulate in the US, officials said Monday.

The 73-year-old minister was in the US over the weekend to oversee the opening of the consulate in Lowell, Massachusetts, the location of the US’ second-largest Cam­bodian community, most of which are refugees who resettled there during the 1980s.

After giving a speech at the consulate, the minister reportedly felt dizzy and suffered blurred vision, ministry spokesman Kuy Koung said. Moments later he fainted and was transported to a nearby hospital, the name of which Mr Kuy Koung did not know. Hospitalized for several hours, Mr Hor Namhong was later released and is now recovering in his hotel room.

“His condition is better, and he continues to work,” Mr Kuy Koung said, adding the minister is expected to return home on May 7.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said the minister’s long flight, the time change, his busy schedule and advancing age had likely led to his fatigue and fainting spell.

John Johnson, spokesman for the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, said in an e-mail Monday evening that the office was “still trying to clarify what exactly happened” regarding the minister.

Kao Kim Hourn, secretary of state for the ministry, said he had heard of the situation but referred questions to acting Foreign Affairs Minister Long Visalo, who hung up the phone when contacted by a reporter.

Another elder member of the CPP also recovering from an illness is Say Chhum, a lawmaker and second vice president of the National Assembly, who suffered a stroke on March 30 in Phnom Penh.

Having undergone surgery to remove a clot in Singapore earlier this month, the 64-year-old lawmaker from Kompong Speu province is now back in Cambodia recovering from his condition.

“Right now Say Chhum is working normally,” Cheam Yeap said.

(Additional reporting by Frank Radosevich)

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