CNRP Asks Germany for Help in Mediation

The CNRP said on Wednesday that Germany’s visiting minister for economic cooperation and development agreed to relay a message to the E.U. seeking help in mediating a resolution to current political tensions in Cambodia between the opposition and ruling CPP.

Gerd Muller wrapped up a two-day visit to Cambodia on Wednesday afternoon after meetings with Prime Minister Hun Sen, CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha and Chin Bun Sean, vice chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, which regulates foreign investment projects.

CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha, right, shakes hands with German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller at the party's headquarters in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha, right, shakes hands with German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Mr. Sokha is currently under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Unit over an alleged affair in a case widely seen as politically motivated. He has been ensconced at the CNRP’s Phnom Penh headquarters since a failed attempt by police to arrest him there last month for ignoring a pair of court summonses. Several opposition lawmakers, members and supporters have been arrested in recent months, and the party has reacted by boycotting parliament.

After meeting with Mr. Sokha at the headquarters on Wednesday morning, Mr. Muller agreed that Germany would forward a message to the E.U., CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann told reporters.

“They will relay our request to have a meeting at the E.U. with the 28 member countries to discuss a solution to the political issues in Cambodia with us and the CPP participating,” he said.

The German Embassy declined to comment on the opposition’s request, and a scheduled news conference with Mr. Muller at the Phnom Penh International Airport was canceled.

A statement from the embassy acknowledged that Cambodia’s political and economic situation was discussed during the German minister’s meetings but did not elaborate.

On his Facebook page, Mr. Hun Sen issued a typically truculent statement about his conversation with Mr. Muller.

“Relating to the opposition party, Samdech Techo [Mr. Hun Sen] said people who do wrong should not use political organizations or NGOs as bulletproof vests to protect themselves,” the post said.

The prime minister, it added, said the E.U. “should not listen only to the opposition party, but should listen to the facts and know the law clearly to avoid misinterpretation.”

The European Parliament last week passed a resolution urging the E.U. to reconsider a multimillion-dollar aid package to Cambodia if the country’s human rights situation failed to improve.

Earlier this year, Germany ended funding of government land projects over frustrations with the slow pace of related reforms, including the lack of an independent institution to adjudicate property disputes.

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