King Unable To Intervene For Rainsy

King Norodom Sihanouk has indicated he cannot obtain additional security guarantees from the government for opposition figure Sam Rainsy, saying his “royal capabilities have limits.”

And Second Prime Minister Hun Sen apparently will not offer the guarantees that Sam Rainsy has demanded to return for Wed­nes­day’s parliament opening, ac­cord­ing to a document distribu­ted Sunday by the opposition party.

Sam Rainsy, who has been out of the country since Sept 25, wrote to the King last week asking for help in getting Hun Sen to pledge that no Sam Rainsy Par­ty members would be arrested.

However, the King, in Beijing for medical treatment, said in a statement Nov 19 that he could not intervene. “I have always extended considerable efforts to assist our pol­iticians and other compatriots in ‘difficulty’…but my ‘royal’ capabilities are limited,” the monarch wrote in the statement. “As I had the honor to tell [by letter] the Honorable US Congress­man Dana Rohrabacher, I am only human, not divine.” The King wrote he had simply forwarded Sam Rainsy’s letter to Hun Sen.

On Sunday, the Sam Rainsy Party distributed what appeared to be Hun Sen’s reply to the King. A spokesman for Sam Rainsy said the party had obtained Hun Sen’s letter, dated Nov 19, from the Royal Palace. Hun Sen aides could not be reached Sun­day to confirm the letter’s authenticity.

The Nov 19 letter told the King that Hun Sen had nothing to add to the security guarantees he had already assured the King of in a previous letter. The previous letter said that Sam Rainsy and his parliamentarians were protected by their constitutional parliamentary immunity. “The wording in that letter is enough for His Excellency Sam Rainsy and his party,” the Nov 19 letter read.

Sam Rainsy has rejected Hun Sen’s previous assurances of se­curity, saying they are meaningless. Late last week, Sam Rain­sy said by telephone from Paris that he would cancel his return Tues­day to Cambodia un­less Hun Sen guarantees against his arrest.

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