Alliance Urges Talks With CPP Next Week

Leaders of Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party’s Alliance of Democrats will push for negotiations with the CPP next week in a fresh effort to end the more than five-month long political deadlock, Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh said Tues­day.

Prince Ranariddh, speaking from France on Voice of America radio after meeting with Funcin­pec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh and opposition leader Sam Rainsy, said talks with the CPP to should begin without delay.

“Sam Rainsy and Prince Siri­vudh will be back [in Cambodia] and they are both ready to discuss in negotiations to solve the political deadlock,” Prince Rana­riddh told VOA. The Alli­ance of Democrats “insists the CPP start discussions in order to find a solution,” he said.

Since the July 27 general election, the dispute between the three parties has postponed the formation of the new government and National Assembly.

Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said Tuesday that Sam Rainsy would be back in Phnom Penh by Jan 10 or Jan 11. Funcinpec spokes­man Kassie Neou said Prince Sirivudh would also return next week, but he did not know the date.

The two leaders went to France late last week to discuss the Al­liance’s political strategies with Prince Ranariddh, who left the country in early November. He also said he would return later this month, but declined to give a specific date.

In his interview with VOA, Prince Ranariddh repeated that the Alliance would support the CPP’s candidate for the new prime minister as long as it pro­mises to accept and implement the Alli­ance’s policy proposals for the new gov­ernment. Those policies in­clude nullifying the border agreements made between Cam­bodia and Vietnam in the 1980s, and creating a Ministry of Immi­gration.

The CPP still regards Prime Minister Hun Sen as its only candidate for premier, says a speech to be read today by CPP Presi­dent Chea Sim at a rally at party headquarters. Despite having won 73 of the As­sembly’s 123 seats in July’s election, the CPP is nine seats short of governing alone. Initially, Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party refused to join a coalition with the CPP as long as Hun Sen remained prime minister.

Though the three parties have since tentatively agreed to form a tripartite government, the Al­liance maintains it cannot guarantee Hun Sen will receive support from two-thirds of the Assembly, which is required for him to remain prime minister.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith on Tuesday rejected Prince Ranariddh’s calls for his party to implement all of the Alliance’s policy reforms.

“The winning party could not implement the national policy platform of the losing parties,” Khieu Kanharith said. “We can use some, but not all.” The CPP is waiting for the Alliance to initiate negotiations, he added.

“The important thing is wheth­er the [Alliance] wants to work [with the CPP] if they want to start the discussion,” he said.

Khieu Kanharith said, however, that the CPP had not changed its stance on pushing for a simultaneous Assembly vote on government and legislative positions—a condition the Alliance has repeatedly rejected.

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