Alliance Alters Tone on Outcome of Talks Talks Gov’t Talks Negotiations Talks Outcome

Tempering the initial trium­ph of Wednesday’s breakthrough talks on the formation of a new government, the Alliance of Demo­crats announced Thursday that reaching the conditions necessary for them to join Prime Minister Hun Sen’s CPP in government will be a “long” and “tedious” negotiation process.

The Sam Rainsy Party will not accept any positions in a future government without credible assurances of reform and Fun­cinpec has not agreed to a condition in Wednesday’s post-talks communique that the CPP’s ac­ceptance of Prince Norodom Ran­ariddh as National Assembly president was contingent on Fun­cinpec’s acceptance of Hun Sen as prime minister.

“To this date, neither Samdech Krom Preah [Ranariddh] nor Funcinpec has accepted the condition,” the Alliance of Democrats wrote in a statement.

The reciprocity condition re­garding the CPP’s acceptance of the prince’s new post was included in a communique written by King Norodom Sihanouk following the talks at the Royal Palace.

In the statement titled “The True Outcome of the Summit Meeting in the Royal Palace,” the Alliance outlined five points that “contribute” to resolving the political deadlock.

Firstly, Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party recognize the CPP’s right to nominate a candidate for prime minister. The CPP in turn accepts a tripartite government. A new parliament should form as early as possible, and must form before the formation of a new government. The CPP candidate for prime minister, once accepted by the King, then forms a team of candidates to make up the new government. The CPP candidate and the proposed government team is then presented to the National As­sembly for a vote of confidence.

That vote will be subject to “a favorable or unfavorable” outcome, the Alliance said in its statement.

“The Alliance of Democrats con­siders the various steps and conditionality for the formation of the National Assembly and the government for the third legislature as a long process,” the statement added. “[The Alliance] will join a coalition government only if it can commit itself to principles and programs that serve the supreme interests of the nation.”

Hun Sen, speaking at a ceremony in Kandal province Thursday, called the outcome of the summit “a great success.”

Minister of Women’s Affairs Mu Sochua said Friday that no “agreements” have been made, and that the meeting of the three parties was simply a discussion.

Mu Sochua also rejected comments by Khieu Kanharith on Thursday that the division of government ministerial spots and secretariats had been agreed upon.

The CPP raised the issue but Prince Ranariddh declined to talks about positions before the principles of a new government have been discussed, said Mu Sochua, who was adamant that the Alliance is sticking to its platform of a tripartite government without Hun Sen.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay also said Friday that clarification was needed, saying the King’s communique was really the King’s notes on the talks and not an agreement.

If an agreement had been reached a copy would have been provided to each party for perusal and amendment, said Son Chhay, adding that the three parties only agreed to set up two committees to discuss “what happens next” in terms of talks.

Son Chhay also noted that the summit meeting was less “gentlemanly” than CPP members are claiming, and that an angry Hun Sen rose from his seat on occasion during the talks.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith, speaking in a personal capacity, said Friday the two parties appeared to be back-tracking on Wednesday’s agreement.

“It seems the two parties do not know where they want to go,” said Khieu Kanharith, adding that the outcome of Wednesday’s talks were set out clearly and agreed upon between the three parties as “political leaders” and “gentlemen.”

Khieu Kanharith said the Alli­ance may be divided because of a power-sharing agreement on government positions, which will see Funcin­pec share half of the 13 ministries it now controls.


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