King Says He Won’t Chair ‘Fruitless’ Gov’t Negotiations

King Norodom Sihanouk has said he will not preside over a summit of the three political parties to resolve the current political crisis.

In a letter to his son Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Funcinpec president, the monarch said such a meeting would be fruitless and unlikely to produce a solution.

“Papa will not preside over any summit meeting between the three parties, whether it is held in Phnom Penh or Beijing, because such a meeting will certainly achieve no result,” he wrote in an Oct 17 letter obtained Thursday.

Talks over how to form a new government stalled two weeks ago and the three parties asked the King to hold a summit to re­solve the impasse. The opposition has insisted the meeting be held outside of the country for security reasons, a demand to which the CPP will not agree.

“Papa would like to ask all three parties to take responsibility before the nation and the people,” the monarch told his son in the letter.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Tol Lah said Thursday he agreed with the King. “Why do we need to have a summit? Why not just call a meeting?” he said. “Person­ally I am frustrated. We cannot resolve our differences as it seems they are too far apart.”

Tol Lah insisted Funcin­pec was open to further negotiations.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kan­harith was unavailable for comment Thursday, but Second Prime Minister Hun Sen made it clear in a speech earlier in the day that his party believed further talks would achieve nothing and that there was no need for another summit.

But a spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party said Thursday he believed the king would still preside over a summit if the three parties could agree on a venue.

“He will do it if we request it,” said Ou Bunlong, a leading member of the party’s negotiating team. “The problem is he doesn’t want to oppose any party.”

The Sam Rainsy Party also issued a statement Thursday stating the party was prepared to attend a summit inside Cam­bodia, but that leader Sam Rainsy would not be able to attend for security reasons. A top official would negotiate on behalf of the party, the statement said.

 

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