King Expected To Make Stop In Capital Phnom Penh

King Norodom Sihanouk will stop next week in Phnom Penh en route to Beijing, diplomats said Thursday. 

The monarch, who was last in the capital in January, is expected Monday, they said. “He will arrive and go straight to the Royal Palace,” said an Asian diplomat.

King Sihanouk decided to de­lay his trip to Beijing for medical treatment after the CPP and foreign governments urged him to stay until a coalition government is formed, a senior palace official told Kyodo News Service on Thurs­day.

If the King leaves before political parties elect a Natio­nal As­sembly president, the na­tion will be without a head of state, and, technically, without a legal government.

“The international community made it clear it would not be plea­sed if he went to Beijing before a government was formed and he didn’t want this to happen,” said another Asian diplomat.

The diplomat said King Siha­nouk is “respected by all sides” and is in a position to help end the cur­rent political deadlock.

“I think he wants to play an active role,” he said, adding that the King’s planned visit to Phnom Penh signaled “displeasure” with the opposition, made up of Fun­cinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party.

CPP spokes­man Khieu Kan­harith, said Thursday he wanted the King to remain in Cambodia. “If the King leaves, we will miss legal procedures. For example, who could be the acting head of state if one were needed,” he asked Agence France-Presse.

Talks held to organize the new National Assembly and set up a coa­lition government are planned to resume Monday. The first round of talks was on Tues­day.

“If the King is not pleased with how things are going by the end of Monday, he will fly to Beijing,” said the first diplomat.

The 75-year-old King is reportedly suffering from a variety of ailments including colon cancer.

King Sihanouk last came to Phnom Penh on Dec 3, 1997, and stayed until Jan 5 when he abruptly left the capital for Beijing. He has been at his royal residence in Siem Reap since April.



Related Stories

Latest News