King Calls Political Parties to Palace Meeting

King Norodom Sihanouk on Thursday summoned the three main political parties to a meeting at the Royal Palace today, party officials said.

Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang said the meeting will take place at 5 pm. He added that no agenda had been set for the discussions.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy and his party secretary-general, Eng Chhay Eang, will attend, while Funcinpec Secretary-Gen­eral Prince Norodom Sirivudh and Kong Vibol, secretary of state for the Finance ministry, will represent the royalists, a partner in the Alliance of Democrats.

CPP Secretary-General Say Chhum and Interior co-Minister Sar Kheng will also attend, CPP President Chea Sim wrote in a letter to the King.

Today’s meeting will be the parties’ third session with the King since the July 27 general elections. They have not officially met together without the King’s presence.

Plans for tripartite negotiations on the formation of the new government and National Assembly were halted more than a week ago, after Funcinpec said it would not enter talks until the CPP dropped a defamation lawsuit against Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

The CPP launched the court complaint Nov 4, alleging that Prince Ranariddh had falsely ac­cused Prime Minister Hun Sen of involvement in the shooting death last month of a pro-Fun­cinpec radio journalist.

On Thursday morning, Hun Sen said Prince Ranariddh needed to clarify his comments—rather than apologize.

“If there is no reparation for the CPP’s dignity and my dignity, this complaint is not withdrawn,” Hun Sen told reporters at the Foreign Ministry.

“I do not need apology but I need clarification.”

Hun Sen added that he wanted only “the person who made this issue,” and not anyone else, to clar­ify that he was not accused of the killing.

In his comments to reporters, Hun Sen said the King should not be called upon to interfere any further with the political standoff.

“I think the King already fulfilled his role. One should not disturb him anymore,” Hun Sen said.

He added that the King is al­so still in mourning over the death last month of his son, Prince Norodom Narindrapong.

In response to a statement made by the King on Wednes­day, Hun Sen told reporters a “people’s power” movement, such as the one that occurred in the ex-Soviet state of Georgia earlier this week, was “impossible” in Cambodia.

It is a “dream to use people’s power to sack the government,” he said.

King Sihanouk warned sup­port­ers of the Sam Rainsy Party not to follow Georgia’s lead.

Commenting on the King’s statement, Sam Rainsy on Wednesday said his supporters might succeed in deposing Cam­bodia’s leader in a few years.



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