Cambodia Open to Taking Ukrainian Refugees: Hun Sen

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Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks to Social Affairs Minister Vong Soth at a government event in Prey Veng on March 17, 2022. (Hun Sen’s Facebook page)

Cambodia would take on refugees from the war in Ukraine if they fled to Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday.

“In the case of Ukrainians fleeing to Cambodia, we have to allow them to stay,” he said during a speech in Prey Veng province.

However, he added that he would not allow Cambodians to go volunteer to fight in Ukraine, saying it would be like pouring gasoline on a fire.

He urged negotiations between Ukraine and Russia to end the fighting, echoing his recent statements that he believes ending conflict should be the first priority in various geopolitical situations. Earlier this year, he made a controversial visit to war-hit Myanmar to meet coup leader Min Aung Hlaing, insisting on engagement to end fighting despite criticism that he was legitimizing the coup.

The war in Ukraine has now continued into its fourth week, with as many as 10,000 total soldiers killed so far, according to U.S. estimates.

During the speech, Hun Sen also called on embassies to repatriate foreign nationals struggling in Cambodia, singling out the German Embassy for not responding to his officials about issuing a passport for a homeless German man in Phnom Penh.

“We have informed them through diplomatic [channels] with Cambodian authorities, but we have not yet seen the German Embassy visit its citizen who is walking around aimlessly and sleeping on the street. Now he is getting treatment at Calmette Hospital,” Hun Sen said.

“If he does not have money, we are prepared to buy a ticket for him to send him back to his homeland, but he doesn’t have a passport, unless Germany issues a passport for him. … Sub-officials sent information to the embassy, but it did not respond, so the prime minister needs to shout out loudly.”

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