New German Ambassador Urges CPP and CNRP to Meet

Germany’s new ambassador to Cambodia, Joachim Baron von Marschall, said Wednesday during a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong that he hoped the country’s ruling CPP and opposition CNRP would meet to resolve the post-election uncertainty, an official said.

“His Excellency [Mr. Baron von Marschall] confirmed that he hoped the Cambodian People’s Party and the Cambodia National Rescue Party will meet each other to solve their ongoing disagreement,” said Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Baron von Marschall met with Mr. Namhong at the ministry to reaffirm friendly ties between the two countries since the new ambassador’s recent appointment, according to Mr. Kuong.

“His Excellency, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, also confirmed that the Cambodian Peo­ple’s Party is keeping the door open forever and preparing to meet and discuss about the disagreements each party has,” Mr. Kuong said.

Little was achieved in meetings held last month between the CPP and CNRP to negotiate a solution to the current election impasse.

Mr. Kuong also emphasized Wednesday that while the German government has not sent a congratulatory statement to Prime Minister Hun Sen for winning the election, the ambassador’s presence showed they were behind the government.

“The German government did not yet send the statement congratulating us. But whether or not they support, they sent a new ambassador to our country…which confirms very clear that they support [our government] already,” he said.

Mr. Kuong said Mr. Namhong reassured Mr. Baron von Marschall that the national election was a smooth and peaceful process in which a majority of Cambodians voted, and that any irregularities had been solved by the National Election Committee and reviewed by the Constitutional Council in accordance with the law.

“His Excellency, the ambassador, also saw too that in the past, [the] opposition party had planned to hold large demonstrations and then the demonstrations really happened with success and peace. This is the best sign of democracy in Cambodia,” Mr. Kuong said.

The German Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the CNRP, said that his party supports Mr. Baron von Marschall’s comments concerning a meeting between the opposition and the CPP.

“This is what we have had in our mind before. We can’t solve a problem without going to the table,” he said.

Also during the meeting, which lasted about 20 minutes, Mr. Kuong said the ambassador spoke of Germany’s ongoing cooperation with Cambodia in the areas of land management, mine clearance, the Khmer Rouge tribunal and health issues, all of which Germany has donated tens of millions of dollars toward over the past decade.

(Additional reporting by Joshua Wilwohl)

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