Hun Sen: Gov’t Talks May Start Next Week Talks Gov’t Talks Negotiations Talks Outcome

Prime Minister Hun Sen said Friday that negotiations between his CPP and the Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party on the formation of a new government could begin as early as next week.

Hun Sen said the CPP’s negotiation team was ready for talks. In the event the post-election stalemate continues, however, Hun Sen said his old government will continue to lead the country.

“It is possible that the talks can begin by next week if Funcin­pec and the Sam Rainsy Party are all prepared,” Hun Sen said following a Council of Ministers meeting.

“I want a new government established soon. We will seek a formula to have a new [government]. But if the new government cannot be born, the old one will still conti­nue like today, when I led the Cabinet meeting,” Hun Sen added.

Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy said Thursday that the CPP is unlikely to accept the “drastic” range of reforms being demanded by the opposition party as a condition for joining a coalition government.

Sam Rainsy also chided that the CPP could rule alone if it were able to meet the sweeping reforms.

Recent comments by Sam Rainsy had distorted the agreements reached during the Nov 5 meeting of the three political parties at the royal palace, Hun Sen also said Friday.

“I want the new government set up based on the spirit of the Nov 5 agreement,” said Hun Sen, who accused the Sam Rainsy Party of trying to backpedal on an agreement regarding his continued position as prime minister.

At a second meeting with King Norodom Sihanouk on Tuesday, Sam Rainsy and Funcinpec Sec­retary-General Prince Noro­dom Sirivudh denied any pressure was exerted on them to accept the Nov 5 agreement. Sam Rainsy told the King that he agreed to a tripartite government, but led by a new premier.

Hun Sen said that Sam Rainsy made no mention of a new premier at the first meeting with the King on Nov 5.

“In [the Nov 5] meeting, Fun­cinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party only accepted whatever candidate is submitted by the CPP for premiership. This comment must be clarified,” he said.

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