I would like to take a moment to offer my heartfelt condolences to His Majesty King Sihamoni, Her Majesty Queen Mother Norodom Monineath, the entire Royal Family, and the Cambodian people for the loss of His Majesty King Father Norodom Sihanouk. Over the past week, I have followed the procession and ceremonies to honor the King Father, and I was very moved by the repatriation ceremony for his remains that I attended last week. Many of my Cambodian colleagues at the Embassy requested time off to take part in joining the hundreds of thousands of people who lined the streets to welcome the King Father home for the final time, and I am glad the Embassy was able to support their requests.
On Monday, I visited the Royal Palace to pay my respects to His Majesty the King Father. As we drove into the palace, it was humbling to see firsthand the thousands of Cambodians who had traveled from all over the country to pay their respects to their former King. I believe His Majesty would be deeply moved by the love and reverence the country is showing at this time. I had the opportunity to speak with the King’s brother, His Royal Highness Samdech Norodom Sirivudh, and to convey condolences on behalf of the U.S. government. I signed the condolence book and contemplated the King Father’s influential role in Cambodia for over six decades.
I also spoke with Cambodian Television Network (CTN) on Monday, as part of its series of interviews with foreign diplomats. I want all Cambodians to know that the United States is thinking of you at this time.
Finally, I would like to share with you this picture of His Majesty King Father Norodom Sihanouk with President Ronald Reagan, which is a testament to the long friendship between our two countries. Thanks go to the Documentation Center of Cambodia for sending us the photo, so that we could share it with all of you.