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Cambodia terminates land titling program with World Bank [... more land-grabbing to take place?]

Written By vibykhmer on Monday, September 7, 2009 | 4:41 PM

PHNOM PENH, Sep. 7, 2009 (Xinhua News Agency) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced Monday his country has terminated the land titling program with World Bank before the original schedule, which was planned to end at late this year.

"They has put more complicated conditions on us over land titling program," Hun Sen said at the ceremony of releasing the final result of 2008 population census at Chak Tuk Mok Theater Hall in Phnom Penh.

He ordered Keat Chhon, deputy prime minister and minister of economy and finance, to tell World Bank partner about that termination. He also blamed the World Bank for always wanting "to play the role as big brother on other development projects with partners in Cambodia."

"The World Bank plans to suspend the project, but now we tell them first that we have to terminate that project," He said.

The World Bank has supported Cambodian land titling program, namely Land Management and Administration program (LMAP), with the budget amount of 24.5 million U.S. dollars. It has cooperated with Ministry of Land Management and Urban Planning and Construction and handed over one million land titles for local people so far, according to the World Bank's review.

Hun Sen also said that the project plans to end at late this year, so now "we have to do it with our own budget as we have done it before."

"We have shared the findings of the review with the (Cambodian) government but could not reach an agreement on whether LMAP's social and environmental safeguards should apply in some of the disputed urban areas," Wordl Bank country director Annette Dixon was quoted as saying by local English language newspaper the Cambodia Daily.

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