Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today offered his deep condolences to the people of Cambodia, the Government and its royal family on the death of the country’s former monarch, King Norodom Sihanouk, according to the UN chief’s spokesperson.
“The Secretary-General acknowledges King Sihanouk’s long dedication to his country and his legacy as a unifying national leader who is revered by Cambodians and respected internationally,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson added in a statement.
According to media reports, King Sihanouk, 89, died after having a heart attack in Beijing, China, where he had been residing for the past eight years. The former monarch came to the throne in 1941 and remained a prominent figure for more than 60 years until his abdication in 2004, when he passed the throne to his son, King Norodom Sihamoni.
King Sihanouk saw Cambodia go from French rule to independence in 1953, experienced house arrest during the Khmer Rouge regime during which nearly two million people died between 1975 and 1979, and faced 13 years of exile during the country’s civil war that followed the regime’s toppling. He later returned to his country amidst its efforts with reconciliation and the restoration of political stability.
“The Secretary-General also hopes that the legacy of the former King will allow Cambodia to advance the national healing process, including through continued commitment to justice,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said.