Twenty-four years after warring political factions signed the Paris Peace Agreements, a comprehensive pact to end civil strife and restore democracy in Cambodia, deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha said on Friday that many of its promises remain elusive.
Marking the anniversary of the accord at an event in Kompong Speu province, Mr. Sokha told a crowd of supporters that the CPP government had failed over more than two decades to carry out the provisions of the historic agreement.
“We note that there are a number of points in the spirit of the accords that have not yet been fully implemented, such as the creation of a foundation for a liberal, multi-party democracy,” he said.
In particular, Mr. Sokha said the government had failed to hold free and fair elections, create an effective check on executive power or ensure the independence of the country’s courts.
“So I think that to end the bloodshed among Khmers and stop foreigners from taking opportunities to invade Khmer land and to stop communists and dictatorial regimes from controlling Khmers…all Khmer politicians shall not abandon the spirit of the Paris Peace Agreements,” he said.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said that the peace agreement had been replaced by the Constitution as the guiding document for CPP policy.
“Kem Sokha asks the government to respect the peace agreement; there is no such principle to respect the Paris Peace Agreement. But we do respect the Constitution,” Mr. Siphan said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen marked the anniversary with a message to his Facebook page explaining that the agreement paved the way for development.
“Because of peace, we have the opportunity to achieve a lot of accomplishments for our nation,” such as the construction of tall buildings, new bridges, beautiful parks and a walkway along Phnom Penh’s riverside, the post said.
“Please, peace, continue existing for our citizens and the country as a whole.”
(Additional reporting by Colin Meyn)