Asean Chair Urges Coalition in a ‘Spirit of Reconciliation’

Asean is urging Cambodian pol­itical parties to resolve their differences and form a new government.

In a statement to be released to­day, Singapore Foreign Minister S Jayakumar, chairman of the Asean standing committee, said: “Asean encourages all parties­…particularly the contending candidates, to resolve their differences in the spirit of national reconciliation and unity so that a new Nat­ional Assembly could soon vote on a new Government.”

The Asean statement notes the im­portance of King Norodom Sih­anouk’s role in helping ac­h­ieve “national unity and stability.”

The regional grouping reaffirmed its support for the Joint In­ter­n­ational Observation Group’s positive assessment of July’s election. A JIOG preliminary statement a few days after the July 26 election called the polling “free and fair to an extent that enables it to reflect…the will of the Cambodian people.”

Representatives from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines—or the Asean Troika—have been working in Cambodia for the past year to help get the country ready for possible admission to the regional grouping. Cam­bodia was set to be admitted last year, but was delayed be­cause of fighting in the capital last July.

Today’s statement states Asean “looks forward to that time…when [Cambodia] could be embraced by its Asean brothers…and re­stored in its rightful place in the international community.”

Asean was founded in 1968 and includes the nations of Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Phil­ippines, Mal­aysia, Laos, Brunei, Burma and Vietnam.


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