CNRP Confirms Attendance at Royal Palace Meeting With CPP

Opposition president Sam Rainsy will lead a delegation to attend talks with CPP leaders led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, and officiated by King Norodom Sihamoni, at the Royal Palace on Saturday, but a mass demonstration scheduled for Sunday would go ahead as planned, the CNRP said.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said that his party sent a letter to the Royal Palace on Friday to confirm that Mr. Rainsy, along with CNRP vice president Kem Sokha and lawmaker candidate Tioulong Saumura, would attend the meeting with the CPP.

“Usually, it is a positive move when the two parties sit down together,” Mr. Sovann said of the meeting.

“We hope that during the meeting, which will be presided over by the King, the two parties will make the country’s interests and voters’ justice the top priority,” he said.

King Sihamoni sent a letter to Mr. Hun Sen and Mr. Rainsy on Thursday inviting them to attend the meeting at the Royal Palace at 9 a.m. to discuss a solution to the current election impasse.

Speaking to opposition supporters at a rally in Battambang prov­ince on Friday, Mr. Rainsy confirmed that he, his wife, Ms. Saumura, and Mr. Sokha would attend the meeting.

He also said that a three-day pro­test and camp-out planned for Sun­day to Tuesday at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park would still take place.

“Tomorrow there will be an important event,” Mr. Rainsy told the crowd.

“His Excellency Kem Sokha, Sam Rainsy, and one other CNRP leader will have an audience with His Majesty, so then we will inform His Majesty that we are not satisfied” with the election result, he said.

“Unless there is a transparent and just solution to the election result, there will be no discussion about problems [at the meeting],” Mr. Rainsy added.

“The will of the people needs to be respected first since there is nothing more important than the people.”

Senior CPP lawmaker and party spokesman Cheam Yeap said Friday that the demonstrations by the opposition would not lead to a solution.

“Mass demonstrations cannot be used to reach a solution so we hope the opposition leader Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha will call off the demonstration after the meeting tomorrow,” he said.

Mr. Yeap also said that the talks with the CNRP at the Palace could include a compromise, but he was adamant there would be no delay in forming the new National As­sembly on September 23.

“The discussion at the meeting tomorrow might involve forming the government and it will also involve the decision on which commissions at the National Assembly will be offered to the opposition,” he said.

“At tomorrow’s meeting at the Royal Palace, our highly-respected King will play a role as arbitrator to decide what to do and to bring stability and peace to the country,” Mr. Yeap said, adding that the King wanted to understand both parties’ demands.

When asked whether the outcome of the meeting might delay convening the new National Assembly, which King Sihamoni has scheduled for September 23, Mr. Yeap said, bluntly: “There is no way the King will delay it.”

With the CNRP on Friday stand­ing by its decision to carry out its mass demonstration on Sunday to press for an investigation of the election results, a group of more than 20 NGOs released a statement announcing that some 1,600 volunteers from civil society organizations will help with first aid and security monitoring at Sunday’s Freedom Park protest.

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