Three CPP-aligned government officials met with a group from the US Congress and State Department last week, in an apparent move to lobby their position on the elections.
Om Yentieng, an adviser to Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, said Thursday that the visit was in response to an invitation by a US congressman to talk about the situation in Cambodia.
But the visit coincides with the decision by the US to make a statement separate from the Joint International Observer Group on the credibility of the elections.
Most analysts have taken that to mean that the US will be tougher in its statement.
The visit also comes at a time that a Washington DC public-relations and lobbying firm has been working hard to boost Hun Sen’s and the CPP’s image in the US.
The CPP team that visited the US was led by Uch Kim An, secretary of state for the Foreign Ministry. Besides Om Yentieng, the group included Svay Sitha, a political adviser to the Council of Ministers.
Om Yentieng said the group met with about a half-dozen representatives from a congressional foreign relations committee and also with Stanley Roth, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific.
In a visit last fall, Roth pushed hard on other countries to deny Hun Sen aid after his ouster of Prince Norodom Ranariddh.
Om Yentieng said he couldn’t remember the name of the congressman who extended the original invitation.
At least one prominent US newspaper recently has been getting faxes from the David Morey Group in Washington, which claims it is working for the CPP to ensure fairness in the elections.
The David Morey Group is listed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act as previously doing lobbying and media relations work in Panama in Central America, and political consulting work in the west African country of Gabon.
Svay Sitha declined to comment about the details of the visit until after Sunday’s election. Uch Kim An couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
An official from an election watchdog said Thursday that eyebrows were raised when they heard Svay Sitha talking about the visit before his departure.