Funcinpec Invites PM To Be Guest of Honor

Prime Minister Hun Sen will be the guest of honor at this year’s Fun­­cinpec party congress, royalist party officials said Wednesday, sug­gesting that the premier’s ap­pearance at his former rival’s rally would be further evidence of Cam­bodia’s political stability.

A model of the new Funcinpec headquarters will also be re­veal­ed at the Nov 14 gathering, Fun­cinpec spokesman Chea Chan­baribo said.

“He will be our guest of honor,” Fun­cinpec Deputy Secretary-Gen­er­al Ung Huot said of Hun Sen. “We are partners in the coalition gov­­ernment, so it is logical,” he ad­d­ed.

Chea Chanbaribo said the premier’s appearance would be a re­assuring sign to investors.

“It shows the long-term com­mit­ment of the CPP and Fun­cin­pec to ensure peace, stability and na­tional development,” he said. “It makes investors confident in Cambodia, that it is peaceful.”

Armed conflict between the CPP and Funcinpec troops during the 1997 factional fighting left many foreign businesses wondering whether Cambodia was a safe place to invest.

Opposition party members said they hoped the detente between one-time CPP and Funcinpec foes would be extended to their party.

“They are a coalition, that’s their prerogative [to invite Hun Sen],” said Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang, add­ing that he hoped the coalition’s days of attacking the opposition might be coming to an end.

“If they see fit to leave the opposition alone, it would be very cour­ageous of them,” he said. “They should concentrate instead on economic and social problems.”

Several Funcinpec officials said an amendment to internal party rules would be unveiled at the congress, but details of the amend­ment could not be confirmed Wed­nes­day.

Chea Vannath, president of the Center for Social Development, said the premier’s scheduled ap­pearance shows the increasing closeness of the CPP-Funcinpec coalition.

But she warned leaders not to focus on scoring political points at the expense of ordinary Cam­bo­dians.

“It’s time they get their act to­gether and focus on national issues instead of politicking,” Chea Van­nath said, men­tioning in particular con­cerns about Cambodia’s borders, the in­creasing price of fuel and the wi­de­ning gap between rich and poor.


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