PM Invited to Testify Before Lawmakers About Riots

Funcinpec lawmaker Princess Norodom Vacheara plans to send a letter inviting Prime Minister Hun Sen to testify before the Na­tional Assembly about last week’s anti-Thai riots, she said Wednes­day.

The premier has a duty to tell par­liament about the events that transpired and the response of the authorities, said Princess Va­cheara, who chairs the Assem­bly’s Commission on Foreign Af­fairs and Information.

“The prime minister must clarify [what happened] because leaders must be accountable. In France, they would call the premier to the parliament at night along with relevant ministers if there was an incident like this,” she said in an interview. “If he does not take responsibility, who will?”

National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh ask­ed Princess Vacheara to change the letter, extending the in­vitation to “the prime minister or his rep­re­sentative,” the prin­cess claimed. She made the revision, but still be­lieves the premier himself should appear, she said.

“I don’t understand why we should be afraid to invite the prime minister to talk to the As­sem­bly,” Princess Vacheara said. She speculated that Prince Rana­riddh probably didn’t want to be confrontational with his partner in the government coalition.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kan­ha­rith said Wednesday he did not know whether Hun Sen would ac­cept the invitation. He suggested that the request was issued be­cause some lawmakers “just want to have their names published in the newspapers for their popularity before the election.

“Let’s leave it to the police to do their work first before the premier talks about it,” he said.

Princess Vacheara said she has already sent a similar invitation to Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, who was in Thailand Tuesday at­tempting to repair the two countries’ damaged relations in meetings with Thai Prime Minister Thak­sin Shinawatra and Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The Feb 4 letter states that clarification is needed “because the in­cident strongly affected the image of Cambodia and all her leaders.”

In particular, the princess said, explanation is needed for the fact that authorities did not intervene in the demonstration outside the Thai embassy for several hours, by which time it had escalated out of control.

Several Assembly lawmakers, mostly Funcinpec, also said they are working on a letter inviting the two co-ministers of interior to testify.



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