Chea Sim Wants CPP-Funcinpec Talks

CPP President Chea Sim on Friday urged opposition parliamentarians to return to the country to resume party talks to form a coalition government, but said the meeting should be limited to the two largest parties.

“The CPP and Funcinpec are good partners,” Chea Sim said in a statement. “They are the vital nucleus for resolution of the current deadlock…. These two parties hold the key to success.”

Chea Sim, responding to a proposal from Funcinpec to restart party talks after three previous meetings ended in failure, said talks with all three groups am­ounted to a “plan to return to the same previous de­feat.”

The CPP president, however, left the door open for the top leaders of all three parties to attend a summit in Phnom Penh led by King Norodom Sihahouk.

But the monarch said in an Oct 17 letter to his son, Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Rana­riddh, that he would not preside over such a summit because he doubted it would achieve anything. The opposition parties, meanwhile, want to hold a summit outside Cam­bodia, saying they fear for their safety.

Chea Sim dismissed those de­mands as “political extortion” and urged all parties to respect the results of the July 26 poll, which gave the CPP a majority in the National Assembly. Opposi­tion politicians have said the vote was marred by fraud and intimidation.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Tol Lah on Friday rejected Chea Sim’s offer.

“The meeting should be held with three parties in a spirit of national reconciliation,” he said.

Tol Lah, however, said the CPP president’s remarks were a positive step toward ensuring the safety of opposition lawmakers.

“We appeal for an end to intimidation and various accusations against opposition members such as Kem Sokha and to ensure a credible atmosphere for each other for the talks,” Tol Lah said.

Kem Sokha, a former BLDP lawmaker, is under investigation for allegedly inciting violence and damage to state property during anti-government demonstrations.

Ou Bunlong, a member of the Sam Rainsy Party negotiating team, said such charges make the atmosphere too insecure for a summit in Cambodia.

“We do not want to change the election results completely or to hold a re-election, but to correct some mistakes so that we can be accepted internationally,” Ou Bunlong said.


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