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    At a ceremony staged in association with the Cambodian Buddhist New Year, Lt. General Prince?

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    At a ceremony staged in association with the Cambodian Buddhist New Year, Lt. General Prince Sirik Matak -- Cambodian Premier, president of the Council and Minister of National Defence -- presented decorations to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Infantry Regiments. The ceremony was held outside the Ministry of Defence in Phnom Penh.

    After the ceremony, the decorated soldiers were showered with flower petals and presented with gifts.

    Prince Sirik Matak has taken over from General Lon Nol, who was partially paralysed by a stroke suffered in February.

    SYNOPSIS: In Phnom Penh on Saturday, three Cambodian regiments were assembled to receive decorations from Prince Sirik Matak. The Prince was made Premier and Minister of National Defense in February.

    The Prince made a speech to the troops, praising their bravery in recent battles in Cambodia.

    The first, second and third regiments were presented with ribbons marking their bravery. The presentation is known as the Ceremonie d'Oriflamme. On this occasion, the ceremony coincided with the celebrations of the Cambodian Buddhist New Year. The Prince was acting in his official capacity. He took office after General Lon Nol was partially paralysed by a stroke in February. Prior to that, the Prince had been in charge of the day to day running of the government while General Lon Nol directed the Cambodian military operations.

    After he had presented the decorations in the ceremony -- held outside the Ministry of National Defence -- the Prince handed over proceedings to the young women in the crowd. They showered the decorated troops with flower petals and then gave out gifts of rice and cigarettes to the men.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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