VN President Delays Visit

Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong postponed his two-day visit to Cambodia following Fri­day morning’s Phnom Penh gun battle, though Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Duy Hong said Friday the delay has nothing to do with the violence.

“I have not yet been informed of the reasons, and there may be oth­ers,” he said, noting that the government moved quickly to arrest suspects in the pre-dawn attack. “I do not think there is a security problem now.”

Phnom Penh Governor Chea So­phara agreed, saying he is confident security has been “totally” re­stored in the city. The president’s trip may have been cancel­ed, he said, because “I have heard that he has health problems.”

No new date has been an­noun­ced, but diplomatic sources said indications were the visit, which was to have started Mon­day, will be rescheduled fairly quickly.

The planned visit by the Viet­namese president is seen as im­por­tant to buttressing ties be­tween the two nations, especially in view of the recent visit by Chi­nese President Jiang Zemin.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Hun Sen and his top deputy, Min­i­ster of Cab­in­et Sok An apparently saw no need to change their plans.

They, along with Foreign Mini­s­ter Hor Namhong, said they would remain in Singapore at the fourth annual Asean summit until their planned return tonight.

Early Friday, police speculated the violence might be linked to last week’s arrest of alleged Free Vietnam leader, Le Sun Bao, 50, who holds a US passport.

He was charged with recruiting for a rebel group seeking to topple the Vietnamese government and belonging to the anti-communist Free Vietnam movement, which has ties to the Khmer Serey movement.

Men arrested in Friday’s raid were photographed by police with a banner that read “Cam­bodian Freedom Fighters,” while at least one dead rebel bore that slogan on his t-shirt.

The Cambodian Freedom Fight­­ers, allegedly based in southern California, is unrelated to the Khmer Serey, although both groups claim to want to overthrow the government.

 

 

 

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