PM to Rejoin Spotlight Today With Peace Day Appearance

In his first public appearance in nearly two months, Second Prime Minister Hun Sen this morning will tout the successes of a government policy that has brought the Khmer Rouge movement to its knees, officials said Tuesday.

“He will say that now in Cambodia there are less Khmer Rouge than at any time since the Second World War, and that we have unified the country,” Information Ministry Secretary of State Khieu Kanharith said.

Prak Sokhonn, an international affairs adviser to Hun Sen, said the “important” speech is expected to focus on the Khmer Rouge and national reconciliation.

Hun Sen is the featured speaker at what is being billed as a “Peace Day” gathering at Olympic Stadium. TVK will broadcast the proceedings live from 9-10 am, according to a press release.

Hun Sen will speak indoors to an estimated 8,000 people, said General Neang Phat, director of the Defense Ministry’s information department.

Sixty-six Khmer Rouge defectors from the recently fallen rebel base at Anlong Veng and 13 from the Samlot area in southern Battambang province are expected at the event, Neang Phat said.

Hun Sen, who is also CPP vice president, has officially been in mourning since the March 10 death of his mother, Di Pok. He has not made any public appearances, declining to meet Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the deposed first prime minister, and visiting diplomats.

He has not commented publicly on events that have thrust Cambodia into the international spotlight since March, including the pardon granted to Prince Ranariddh and the prince’s return from self-exile, Pol Pot’s death and the severe splintering of the hard-line Khmer Rouge.

Hun Sen is scheduled to meet with King Norodom Sihanouk, Khieu Kanharith said. He also is slotted to attend a Cambodian Red Cross seminar Thursday and he has been invited to a Labor Day party Friday morning.

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