F’pec Wants CPP Court Complaint Dropped

A proposed meeting of the three main political parties this afternoon appeared headed for derailment as Funcin­pec officials on Monday said they were holding out for the CPP to quash a court complaint against their president, Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

“We’re still waiting to see if the suit against Prince Norodom Ranariddh is dropped,” Funcin­pec Deputy Secretary-General Ok Socheat said.

His comments were confirmed by a statement from the Ministry of Information, citing Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Noro­dom Sirivudh as saying, “now we have to wait for the CPP to withdraw its complaint.”

The CPP invited members of Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party to a meeting this afternoon to discuss the formation of the National Assembly, CPP spokes­man Khieu Kanharith said. But by late Monday, Khieu Kan­harith said the CPP had not received a response from either party.

Khieu Kanharith said that  Prime Minister Hun Sen and the CPP issued a complaint to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court against the prince for defamation and wrongful accusation for a comment that implicated Hun Sen in last month’s shooting death of Funcinpec radio journalist Chuor Chetharith.

The court complaint was lodged before the Nov 5 party summit at the Royal Palace and, therefore, should not affect the political negotiations, Khieu Kanharith said.

If the meeting today proceeds, it would be the first time all three parties have sat down to talks without moderation from King Noro­dom Sihanouk. The talks are intended to involve members of political party task forces created during the Nov 5 meeting.

Khieu Kanharith declined to com­ment further on the meeting’s agenda, but added that a meeting of a second task force, charged with discussing the formation of the new government, has been proposed for Friday.

Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Son Chhay, an appointed delegate to the Assembly task forces, said his party was awaiting Fun­cinpec’s decision before agreeing to join today’s meeting.

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