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Cambodia ready for former King Sihanouk's funeral

English.news.cn   2013-01-31 15:54:43            

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia has already prepared everything deemed important for the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk's funeral, which will begin on Friday, Prince Sisowath Thomico, Spokesman for the Royal Cabinet, said Thursday.

"The government has prepared everything, and now all preparations are in place," he told Xinhua over telephone. "We are ready to hold a funeral march for the late King Father on Feb. 1 and a cremation ceremony on Feb. 4."

Sihanouk died of illness at the age of 90 in Beijing on Oct. 15 last year. His body is lying in state at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh for the public to pay their last respect.

The body will be carried from the Palace in a procession to a custom-built crematorium at the Veal Preah Meru Square next to the Palace on Feb. 1 and kept it for another three days at the site before it is cremated on Feb. 4.

The newly-built crematorium cost about 1.2 million U.S. dollars, which is paid by the government.

The King Father's funeral will be held in the same way that the country had practiced during the royal cremations of previous kings, said Prince Thomico, who is also former aide to the late King Father.

"All traditional and customary events during the funeral are kept the same as those during the cremations of previous kings," he said. "But this time, the ceremony will be the largest of all."

It is expected that some 1.5 million mourners will attend the funeral, which will be safeguarded by about 11,000 security forces.

The forces, equipped with machine guns, are seen deployed on Thursday along main roads and around the cremation site.

Born on Oct. 31, 1922, Sihanouk ruled Cambodia from 1941 to 1955 and again from 1993 until his voluntary abdication on Oct. 7, 2004 in favor of his son, the current King Norodom Sihamoni.

He wrote in a royal letter in January, 2012 that he requested his body to be cremated instead of being buried and his ashes to be put in an urn, preferably made of gold, and placed in a stupa at the Royal Palace.

Prince Thomico confirmed Thursday that the urn is made of gold platinum.

Editor: Chen Zhi
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