Sok An: Chea Sophara Burma Posting Unlikely

Former Phnom Penh governor Chea Sophara is unlikely to take up a controversial posting as am­bassador to Burma, Minister of Cabinet Sok An said Wednes­day.

Briefing reporters on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s return from the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Kuala Lumpur, Sok An said Chea Sophara was part of the Cambodian government delegation to the summit.

Sok An also said it is unlikely the popular CPP official would be sent to Burma following his re­cent surprise promotion as personal adviser to the prime minister which followed just two days after his sacking as governor.

“If [Chea Sophara] is an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, how can he take up an ambassadorial posting?” Sok An asked at the news conference at Phnom Penh International Airport. Chea Sophara could not be reached for comment Wednes­day.

Earlier, the former governor was seen disembarking from the delegation’s aircraft and quietly slipping away from the airport as Hun Sen and several other ministers on the trip were greeted by hundreds of well-wishers.

Though no official explanation has been given for Chea So­phara’s recent yo-yo promotion and demotion, foreign diplomats and the general public believe he was punished for the Jan 29 anti-Thai riots.

Chea Sophara was away from the city the night of the rampage.

Sok An also announced that the important CPP annual congress will be held April 24, and not March 24 as reported by government spokesman Khieu Kan­harith on Monday.

Sok An said Hun Sen met with Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned conference, and that the two had discussed “mend­ing” ties between the two nations, which remain at odds following the riots.

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