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Rainsy: EU trade move to bolster bid for Cambodian democracy

Cambodian exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy says the European Union's consideration of lifting trade privileges for Phnom Penh will add momentum to efforts to restore democracy in the country despite a government crackdown.

The EU is to publish a report Tuesday on a preliminary assessment that Rainsy says will be the basis for suspending trade privileges for Cambodia.

Rainsy says Prime Minister Hun Sen's government has no choice but to restore democracy if "they don't want Cambodia to face an economic crisis, with hundreds of thousands of workers losing their job."

Cambodia's exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy talks to the media outside Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Rainsy landed in Kuala Lumpur in a bid to return to his homeland after Thailand had earlier blocked him from entering. (AP PhotoVincent Thian)

Rainsy, who was allowed into Malaysia after Thailand barred him, met Tuesday with some Malaysian lawmakers. He said he will remain in Southeast Asia until an opportune time to return home, adding the "situation can change very quickly."

Cambodia's exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy talks to the media outside Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Rainsy landed in Kuala Lumpur in a bid to return to his homeland after Thailand had earlier blocked him from entering. (AP PhotoVincent Thian)

Cambodia's exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy talks to the media outside Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Rainsy landed in Kuala Lumpur in a bid to return to his homeland after Thailand had earlier blocked him from entering. (AP PhotoVincent Thian)

Cambodia's exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy looks out from a car as he arrive at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Sam Rainsy landed in Kuala Lumpur in a bid to return to his homeland after Thailand had earlier blocked him from entering. (AP PhotoVincent Thian)