French Embassy officials say they will not respond to continued attacks against Ambassador Andre-Jean Libourel by, most recently, a French organization allegedly made up of French-Cambodian citizens.
This second attack, which came in the form of a written statement released Tuesday, nearly mirrors statements made last week by opposition party leader Sam Rainsy, who led a demonstration of several hundred motorbike taxi drivers outside the French embassy to protest rising gasoline prices.
There Sam Rainsy repeatedly called the ambassador and his staff “cowards” for refusing to meet with demonstrators, accusing them of collusion with what he claims is a corrupt Cambodian government.
“We cut any relationship with the French Embassy in Phnom Penh as long as the current ambassador remains in place,” Sam Rainsy said Tuesday night.
Similarly, the statement released by the Association of French of Cambodian Origin denounced Libourel as complacent and ineffective, saying he is “being taken on a ride by the new communist hyper-corrupted regime of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen.”
Embassy First Secretary Patrice Bonnal said Tuesday he was aware of the statement but not the organization that released it, though he speculated this group was probably encouraged by Sam Rainsy.
“This does not deserve comment,” Bonnal said, adding that it was unclear why Sam Rainsy singled out the French for such harsh criticism regarding rising gasoline prices.
“There is no direct connection to the Embassy,” Bonnal said.
Sam Rainsy said last week he targeted the French Embassy because the French capital of Paris is the location of next month’s major donors, or Consultative Group, meeting on Cambodia.