King Comes Home, Joined by Returning Prince

King Norodom Sihamoni re­turned from his first official visit to China on Tuesday accompanied by Prince Sisowath Thomico, who has been out of the country for several months.

CPP, Funcinpec and Royal Palace officials confirmed Prince Thomico’s return, and one Fun­cin­pec lawmaker suggested that the problems that had perhaps led him to stay out of the country had been resolved.

“It’s no problem for him to come back, we are all together,” said Fun­cinpec lawmaker Prin­cess Noro­­dom Vacheara, chairman of the Na­t­ional Assembly’s foreign affairs commission. “All past differences are over.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen in a late June speech warned an un­nam­ed overseas “Sisowath royalist” and would-be rebels to “prepare coffins” if they were thinking of using the emotive issue of Cam­­­­bodia’s ongoing border disputes to stir up domestic trouble for his government.

Observers believed the focus of the prime minister’s tirade was the outspoken Prince Thomico.

Prince Thomico also crossed swords with Foreign Affairs Min­ister Hor Namhong in March. Princess Vacheara said that Prince Thomico and Hor Nam­­hong had  “met and ironed out the probl­em.”

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said that Prince Thom­ico had never been prevent­­ed from returning to Cambodia.

“He can come back. Nobody asked him not to come back,” he said.

Khieu Kanharith also denied that retired King Norodom Siha­­nouk was under any pressure to stay out of politics.

The retired King announced last week that he would no longer post comments to Cambodian newspaper articles on his Web site.

“Who can put pressure on the [retired] King?” he asked. “The [retired] King can do what he wants.”



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