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Cambodian PM orders 7 days of mourning for former king
Publication Date : 16-10-2012
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen signed an order yesterday announcing seven days of official mourning for King Father Norodom Sihanouk who died earlier in the day in Beijing.
During the mourning period, from Wednesday until Tuesday next week, national flags have to be flown at half mast.
"All television and radio stations as well as entertainment spots shall postpone broadcasts, performances and activities during the seven days," the order said.
At the same time, Cambodian embassies and other missions abroad were ordered to prepare condolence books and portraits of the former king.
"The date for guests to come to express their condolences will be advised later by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation," the order said.
"All Cambodian people shall wear signs of mourning," it added.
The order said the body of the King father would be kept at the Royal Palace for "at least three months" before the cremation is held. "The date for the cremation ceremony will be advised later," it said.
"During the three-month period, government officials, people and foreign guests will be allowed to pay tribute." The order signed by Hun Sen, who flew to Beijing yesterday with King Norodom Sihanoni, described the former king as the "father of independence, territorial integrity and national unification."
The Cambodian heads of state and government arrived in Beijing earlier yesterday and are expected to return tomorrow with the body of the former king.
The European Union praised King Father Norodom Sihanouk as a "well respected leader". In a statement, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, expressed "great sadness" at the death.
"She wishes to express her sincere condolences and sympathy to King Norodom Sihamoni, to Queen Mother Norodom Monineath, to all members of the Royal family and to the people of Cambodia," the statement said.
"King Norodom Sihanouk was a well respected leader and a key figure in Cambodia's recent history. The EU will continue to stand by Cambodia."
Singapore also said it was "deeply saddened" to learn of the king's death. "His Majesty was a remarkable man who dedicated his life to the betterment of Cambodia and the Cambodian people," a a foreign ministry statement said.
"He will be remembered and respected, both in Cambodia and internationally, for tirelessly guiding Cambodia towards a path of reconciliation and prosperity.
"It was His Majesty’s leadership that laid the foundation for the close and enduring friendship that the Kingdom of Cambodia and Singapore share today."
The statement said condolence letters were sent by President Tony Tan Keng Yam to King Norodom Sihamoni, from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Prime Minister Hun Sen and from Foreign Minister K Shanmugam to Foreign MInister Hor Namhong.
Also, top Vietnamese leaders paid tribute to the king, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
"Vietnam has lost a great friend who had maintained a close ties and given valuable support, fraternal sentiment to the Vietnamese people in the struggle for national independence in the past as well as in the current development of each nation," the message read.
"The Vietnamese Party, State, National Assembly, Government and people will forever be grateful to the valuable support and determined to exert every effort to continue building the fine neighbourliness, long-lasting traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation which have long been nurtured by generations of the two countries’ leaders and people."
The report said the message was sent by Virtnam Communist Party General-Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung to King Norodom Sihamoni, Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The report said Vietnamese Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh also conveyed their condolences to Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.