A Change of Guard

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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Cambodia celebrates 20th anniversary of ex-King's return

The signing the Paris Peace Accords in 1991.
R-L: Khieu Samphan, Ieng Mouly, Sihanouk, 4th person unidentified, Hun Sen and Hor Namhong.

Middle: Sihanouk, French FM Roland Dumas and Hun Sen.
Bottom: Hun Sen signed the Paris Peace Accords.

PHNOM PENH, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Sunday celebrated the 20th anniversary of ailing former retired King Norodom Sihanouk's return from exile and his 89-year-old birthday turning to 90 on Oct. 31.

The auspicious ceremony was held in front of the Royal Palace with the high presence from King Norodom Sihamoni, Sihanouk's son, Senate acting-President Prince Sisowath Chivan Monirak, President of the National Assembly Heng Samrin, Prime Minister Hun Sen, and foreign diplomatic corps.

In his first public appearance since his abdication in October 2004 in favour of his son Norodom Sihamoni, the former King was warmly greeted by throng of about 40,000 people from all walks of life.

Traditional dance has been performed to bless the former King with good health and longevity.

In his remarks, Sihanouk said he was very happy to have an honor to address to his beloved compatriots and highly appreciated Prime Minister Hun Sen for his tireless efforts and achievements to develop the country.

"Also, I admire the government of Cambodia and the parliament for their joint efforts to develop the nation," he said in a speech and live televised by the state-owned National Television of Cambodia.

The former King and Queen returned to Cambodia on November 14, 1991 from their exile in China's Beijing at the invitation of the ruling Cambodian People's Party, said Prime Minister Hun Sen in a speech during the celebration.

He said the celebration was to reflect the sincere hearts of Cambodian people towards the former King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Norodom Monineath for their tireless efforts and achievements in national construction.

"We, all Cambodian people, wish the king father for good health and longevity in order to stay as a cold shadow for peace, political stability and prosperity of Cambodia and Cambodian people," he said.

Hun Sen said in the history of Cambodian Kings, there have never had any ex-kings who had as long life as the former King Norodom Sihanouk.

"In the past and in the future, the government of Cambodia vows to protect monarchic regime, constitutional law, full peace, political stability and national unification," he said.

During the celebrations, there is an exhibition displaying former King Norodom Sihanouk's royal crusades and achievements in his efforts to develop the nation.

Also, at the night of Oct. 30, there will be fireworks and concerts.
Editor: Yamei Wang

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