King Says Gov’t Required for His Return

Despite an appeal for his return from opposition politicians, King Norodom Sihanouk repeated he will not return to Cambodia until a new government is formed, add­ing that troubles with his health are keeping him in North Korea.

The King, who has maintained he wants to avoid accusations of political meddling, insisted he will not return until the “big political parties can 100 percent solve the political deadlock.”

Earlier this month, Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay wrote a letter to the King, urging him back to Cambodia to bring stability to the country.

In a message posted on his Web site, the King said his health was poor and that a Chinese doctor who had accompanied him to North Korea had informed him of problems with his heart.

The doctor “has expressed concern over my health. He suggested [for] me to stay calm in mind, and not worry or have concern,” the King wrote in the message, dated Monday.

He said doctors have asked him to remain at his Pyongyang palace, where he is staying to take advantage of the fresh air.

“The Chinese doctors told me that [the palace] is a good place to stay, where I can avoid anxiety, which causes the serious heart problem,” he wrote.

The King expressed frustration with politicians for urging him to return. He also warned “if I abdicate now, there will be chaos” because the functions and procedures of the Throne Council have not yet been established to choose his successor.

The leaders of the three main political parties are also outside the country. According to media reports, Prime Minister Hun Sen was in Beijing Wednesday, having left Cambodia on Monday for a diplomatic visit. He is scheduled to re­turn Sunday.

Meanwhile, Funcinpec Presi­dent Prince Norodom Ranariddh and opposition leader Sam Rainsy are in France, party officials have said. Funcinpec Secretary-Gen­eral Prince Norodom Sirivudh is also in China. Prince Ranariddh will return around April 25 or 26, Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou said earlier this week.

Sam Rainsy Party’s Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang on Wednesday said his party president would be back in Phnom Penh on April 29 or 30.

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