A longtime Foreign Ministry official has been chosen to be the next ambassador to Burma, a week after it was announced that former Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara would probably not be sent to Rangoon.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chief of Protocol Hul Phany said Monday he has received word that he will take up the Rangoon posting, but no official notification has yet been made.
“I heard, but I have not received the official information,” Hul Phany said.
Employed at the foreign ministry since the liberation of Phnom Penh from the Khmer Rouge in 1979, Hul Phany said he would be delighted with the opportunity to serve as ambassador to Burma. “It would be the best for me,” he said.
A senior government official speaking on condition of anonymity also said that Hul Phany had been tapped for the post.
In stark contrast to his outspokenness during his years as Phnom Penh governor, Chea Sophara has not commented since being removed as the city’s top official.
Chea Sophara’s uncharacteristic silence has continued through his surprise re-posting as personal adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen and last week’s announcement the he was unlikely to take up the Burma ambassadorship.
Though Chea Sophara seems set to remain in Cambodia, his project to develop road access to the Angkorian-era temples on the Thai border in Preah Vihear province are in doubt, Phnom Penh and Preah Vihear officials said Monday.
Road-construction machinery has been returned to Phnom Penh from Preah Vihear, and finances for upgrading a 30-km stretch of road have not been cleared by City Hall, officials said.
“[The project] is still going on, but it’s slow at this moment,” said Nhem Saran, director of the Phnom Penh Public Works Department.
Long Sokhom, the official in charge of the Preah Vihear project, said Monday that completion of the road depends on continued funds from the Phnom Penh Municipality.
Preah Vihear Governor Preap Tann also said the project was in doubt.
and its continuation would be discussed with Phnom Penh’s new governor, Kep Chuktema.