Negotiations Continue Along With Deadlock

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.


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