Hun Sen Threatens to Cut Off Talks

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday said his CPP party will refuse to hold further negotiations with the country’s other two major political parties, unless future talks are within the frameworks discussed in the Nov 5 meeting with King Norodom Sihanouk.

Any future meetings would have to follow the agreements made on Nov 5, he said, adding that no new subjects should be raised.

“If it does not follow [the Nov 5 meeting], don’t do the meeting because it wastes time,” Hun Sen said during a ceremony in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district.

Hun Sen said the parties had already agreed last month that Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh would be president of the National Assembly, while CPP Honorary President Heng Samrin would be the Assembly’s first deputy president and CPP parliamentarian Nguon Nhel would be the second deputy president.

During the Nov 5 meeting, which was convened by King Sihanouk at the Royal Palace, the three parties struck a tentative deal to create a tripartite government and approve of the CPP’s nomination of Hun Sen as prime minister.

But, Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party have since refused to discuss the issue of government and Assembly positions, saying they must negotiate on the political platforms of the new government first.

Subsequent meetings between the three parties, including two that were held last week, have failed to result in any further agreements to end the nearly five months of political deadlock.

During his speech on Monday, Hun Sen repeated his demand to remain prime minister and added that the CPP would take 60 percent of the new government positions, while Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party would split the other 40 percent.

That would give CPP control of 14 ministries, leaving the other two parties with 6 ministries each, he said.

“About the government, please type that the prime minister is Hun Sen and the CPP has three deputy prime ministers, Funcinpec has one deputy prime minister and Sam Rainsy has a deputy prime minister,” Hun Sen said. “I plan to have five deputy prime ministers in accordance with the standard of 60, 20, 20.”

Hun Sen also suggested that CPP would take 30 of the secretary of state positions, while Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party would each get 10.

He added that the CPP should also have control of six of the nine committees in the Assembly.

Officials from Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party’s Alliance of Democrats, however, maintained they were not yet ready to discuss the subject of power-sharing.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh on Monday said the Alliance wanted to first focus on resolving national issues, including corruption and border disputes.

He also said he would continue to push for further negotiations.

“If [the CPP] refuses to meet, it means they don’t have the will to resolve the problem,” Prince Sirivudh said by telephone.

He said Hun Sen’s suggestion of appointing five deputy premiers appeared to be excessive, but declined to comment on whether he, himself, would seek to hold such a position.

Observers have said recently that Prince Sirivudh is interested in becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs and deputy prime minister.

Prince Sirivudh said he believed Prince Ranariddh did not want to continue as Assembly president. The Funcinpec president had earlier stated he wanted only to be a parliamentarian.

Also responding to the prime minister’s statements Monday, Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang said: “It’s most regrettable that Mr Hun Sen doesn’t get the point.”

“On the fifth of November, Mr Hun Sen openly offered those positions. We weren’t interested in those positions,” Ung Bun-Ang said.

He added: “The only way to create trust is to meet and talk. If we don’t meet and talk, how can we solve the problem?”


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