Prime Minister Hun Sen has confirmed the return of the Water Festival and the celebration of National Independence Day in Phnom Penh this year. The announcement came during a meeting with garment workers in Pursat province on June 30.

“Let me confirm that two major festivals to be held later this year – Independence Day and Water Festival – must be celebrated solemnly because we had failed to mark them last year as we were busy hosting the ASEAN Summit”.

"Some people say the government lacked budget, but we didn’t celebrate these holidays only because at that time, the ASEAN heads of state and leaders of many countries attended the summits in Phnom Penh. As hosts, we had to take responsibility; we could not bear the burden of two festivals at the same moment on top of the summits,” he emphasised.

At the same event, Hun Sen invited citizens across the country to join Phnom Penh's celebrations, which will include boat racing, concerts and exhibitions.

The National Independence Day is observed on November 9, commemorating Cambodia's independence from France in 1953. The Water Festival follows later in the month from November 26-28.