The scene outside the Council for the Development of Cambodia on Wednesday evening was a familiar one. Following their negotiations over the formation of a new government—their sixth meeting this month—CPP and Funcinpec officials emerged, declaring they had agreed on another 10 points of a 73-point proposed government policy.
Including these latest agreements, the two parties have now agreed on 60 points of a new coalition government policy.
But officials from both parties offered little hope of a quick end to the nine-month political deadlock.
“We hope that a new government will be set up, but when, we don’t know,” CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith told reporters.
Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou added: “If a good policy is not there, I can say there will be difficulty.” Some of Funcinpec’s major demands have not been resolved, including raising civil servants’ salaries and mandatory monthly questioning of the prime minister in the National Assembly.
And though officials from both parties agreed to hold more talks today and in the future, they appear firm on their stances.
One of the biggest roadblocks in the negotiations has been Funcinpec’s insistence on establishing a new institution to replace the government’s current Cambodian Human Rights Committee, run by Hun Sen’s adviser Om Yentieng.
Funcinpec has not budged on this point, claiming the current committee is ineffective and does not protect human rights. According to initial drafts of the negotiation agenda, Funcinpec demands the creation of a national, independent and neutral committee “to eliminate violence and impunity and ensure real social justice.”
Though agreeing in principle to create a new committee, the CPP continues to reject Funcinpec’s proposal to dismantle the government panel.
Since the National Assembly and the Senate each have their own committees on human rights, “we cannot allow any [new] institution to have a monopoly,” CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith said.
But Kassie Neou said a government-run human rights committee cannot do adequate work.
“The government officials are the perpetrators [of human rights abuses] and government itself has the commission. No, that is not independent,” he said.