Funcinpec should apologize to Prime Minister Hun Sen if it wants the CPP to withdraw a defamation suit against Prince Norodom Ranariddh, a CPP official said.
CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Sunday that Prince Ranariddh should clarify a statement he made last month allegedly implicating Hun Sen in the Oct 18 killing of pro-Funcinpec radio journalist Chuor Chetharith.
Unless the prince submits a written apology, Khieu Kanharith said, the CPP will not consider dropping its Nov 4 complaint, which charges the Funcinpec president with defamation and falsely accusing the premier.
“First, the Funcinpec party should write a formal letter to correct the accusation. Second, Prince Norodom Ranariddh can phone Samdech Hun Sen” to apologize, he said.
Three-party negotiations to discuss forming a new government and National Assembly were canceled twice last week when Funcinpec demanded that the CPP drop the lawsuit.
On Saturday, Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh wrote a letter to CPP Secretary-General Say Chhum, saying the royalist party would agree to talks “at anytime” after the complaint was withdrawn.
Khieu Kanharith said the CPP would not accept Prince Sirivudh’s request to drop the suit because it has no bearing on negotiations. The three parties should begin talks promptly, he added.
Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou said Sunday the royalists will not apologize to the CPP.
He said the CPP was using the lawsuit to put pressure on Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party’s Alliance of Democrats. Talks could not be held under such intimidation, he said.
“We won’t do that,” Kassie Neou said.
Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang said Sunday the opposition would continue to support Funcinpec’s decision.
Meanwhile, the CPP declined a request by civil society groups, including the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, Adhoc and Licadho, to sit in on future talks.
“Currently, there are a lot of civil society organizations in Cambodia, so it is not possible to allow the civil society to monitor during the meeting,” Say Chhum said in a statement.
The Alliance announced last week that it would welcome the presence of civil society representatives at talks.