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Senate President Asserts Firm Stance on Funan Techo Canal Project

Phnom Penh: The President of the Senate of Cambodia, Hun Sen, has made a resolute declaration, stating that Cambodia will not engage in negotiations with Vietnam concerning the construction of the Funan Techo canal. This announcement, made at the closing annual meeting of the Oknha Association on Friday night, April 26, comes as Cambodia moves forward with plans to dig the canal, having already informed the Mekong River Commission.

Hun Sen's reaffirmation of his stance was prompted by assertions from a Vietnamese state institute that the canal's construction could disrupt the environmental flow of the Mekong River into the sea. Dismissing these claims, the Senate President emphasized Cambodia's commitment to proceeding with the project, asserting that the canal's design ensures the preservation of the Mekong's environmental balance.

"Cambodia is not stupider than Vietnam, for 47 years of decision. Hun Sen has never made a wrong decision," remarked Hun Sen, underscoring his confidence in Cambodia's decision-making.

The Funan Techo Canal Project, a significant endeavor expected to cost $1.7 billion and take four years to complete, aims to create a direct waterway to the Cambodian sea, bypassing Vietnam. This initiative is anticipated to bring substantial benefits to Cambodia, particularly in transportation, real estate development, and other investments.

Hun Sen reiterated that construction would proceed without the need for negotiations with Vietnam, citing the 1995 Mekong Agreement, which requires notification to the Mekong River Commission but does not mandate consultation or approval from other signatory countries for projects utilizing Mekong tributaries.

The Senate President's unwavering stance follows recent visits from dignitaries of upper Mekong countries, including Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith, both of whom expressed support for the canal project.

During a meeting between Wang Yi and the President of the Senate on April 22 at the 7 Makara Palace, China reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening cooperation with Cambodia, pledging support for the country's development efforts. Likewise, Thongloun Sisoulith expressed Laos' commitment to maintaining strong bilateral relations with Cambodia, affirming support for the canal project and emphasizing the importance of mutual cooperation for the benefit of both nations.

Hun Sen's firm stance underscores Cambodia's determination to pursue strategic projects for its development and economic growth, regardless of external objections.



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