Hun Sen Urges Unity; Warns Leafleters of Jail

Offering an apparent olive branch yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen called for an end to bickering between political parties, saying the country needed unity to survive.

In the same speech, however, the premier threatened to arrest those who circulate leaflets critical of tomorrow’s Jan 7 holiday, celebrating the retaking of Phnom Penh in 1979 from the Khmer Rouge, and criticized an “opposition president” for his actions at the border with Vietnam.

“Be careful; the group that throws around the leaflets. I will seize you. I know your leaflets curse Jan 7, curse Hun Sen and are produced in Thailand and sent to Cambodia and then [you] stay in Thailand,” Mr Hun Sen said in Kien Svay district, Kandal prov­ince, where he was attending the opening of a repaired section of Na­tional Road 1.

“Unity, solidarity is important for the country. No country can develop while their country is in turmoil. This is the new year,” Mr Hun Sen continued.

Although never mentioning SRP President Sam Rain­sy by name, Mr Hun Sen talked about border posts being removed illegally and how the court’s involvement was a natural step. He said those who remove such posts would face consequences.

“Don’t talk only about withdrawing border posts; also if you withdraw land posts you will get hit,” the premier said.

He denied that the ensuing legal action for removing border posts was political or an effort to silence anyone, saying it was a simple example of the nation following the law.

“Where is the State’s legitimacy if several people or a small group of people can do such a thing? This happened in the east, but if it happened to the west the war would immediately take place,” he said in reference to the Thai border.

Mr Rainsy, who is currently living abroad, faces charges of inciting racial discrimination and intentionally damaging property stemming from his Oct 25 visit to Chan­trea district’s Samraong commune in Svay Rieng province, where he uprooted six demarcation posts and reprimanded Vietnamese and Cambodian officials for border agreements that led to the loss of Cambodian farmland.

Mr Rainsy said last week he would not return to Cambodia until the government frees all prisoners being held for protesting land evictions and gives back their property.

The premier also reiterated yesterday that the individual he was re­ferring to should not expect a re­quest to return to Cambodia.

“Now they said they won’t come back to the country; his deal is to re­lease the people first. If you don’t come back, no one will invite you to come,” Mr Hun Sen said.

SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said the SRP had no intention of joining forces with the CPP. She said the country needed varying viewpoints from multiple parties and that more people joining the CPP would re­sult in a one party rule.

“There needs to be an opposition party, not for the construction of the road but as a mirror to show the lacking points of the ruling party,” she said. “If we join, democracy is finished. We are not worried about his criticism toward us; [he] should understand the role of each party.”


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