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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