Gov’t Says Opposition Free to Travel

The government reiterated Friday that all politicians, especially those elected in July, enjoy total freedom of movement.

“The Royal Government would like to explicitly point out that all political party members enjoy the full rights to travel in and out of the country at their own free will and schedule,” the statement by the government spokesman’s office said.

The statement was cast as a response to a Funcinpec request last week for a written guarantee of its members’ security and freedom of movement as a condition to restarting coalition talks.

But opposition leaders immediately rejected the government’s statement as insufficient.

“A statement is not good en­ough, considering the culture of [political violence] in this country the past 20 years,” said May Sam Oeun, Funcinpec spokesman. He said the party demanded that any security guarantee be approved by King Norodom Sihanouk.

The Sam Rainsy Party criticized the government statement Friday as “empty.”

The party re­ferred to the recent violent crackdown on anti-government protesters as an example of how Second Prime Minister Hun Sen’s regime destroys its own credibility in guaranteeing basic human rights.

While the government statement Friday said all members of political parties are free to carry out their activities, it added that “freedom of movement in and out of the country cannot apply to those who have a prime facie case to answer to the court.”

The Sam Rainsy Party called that part of the statement “nothing more than a threat.”

Amid veiled threats against opposition leaders, most opposition parliamentarians left Cambo­dia shortly after they were sworn in Sept 24. The parties recently have been deadlocked over a location for a summit to move coalition talks forward.




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