PM Rebukes Prince Over King Claims

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday warned Prince Norodom Ranariddh against dragging King Norodom Sihamoni into politics following the prince’s claims that the king plans to host a meeting about border issues that have recently broken out between Vietnam and Cambodia.

Prince Ranariddh, the president of Funcinpec, said on Saturday that the king had plans for a national meeting on the issue involving Mr. Hun Sen, opposition leader Sam Rainsy and himself.

Mr. Hun Sen, speaking at Phnom Penh’s Wat Botum pagoda, rebuked Prince Ranariddh for the comments.

“It should not have used the matter of our national issues for playing around because it downgrades the king’s royal honor due to its personal political ambitions,” said Mr. Hun Sen in an apparent reference to the prince.

“Frankly speaking, Prince Norodom Ranariddh has said the king has the view to invite the leaders of the three major political parties to discuss border issues,” he added. “Last night, I sent the prince an SMS and the prince said he received the news from a person named Song Morisa.”

“So, due to my respect for the prince, I typed an SMS to inform the prince: Please, prince, don’t believe a number of useless people, because our king doesn’t discuss things with political parties,” Mr. Hun Sen said.

Mr. Hun Sen said he then contacted Royal Palace Minister Kong Sam Ol, who was with King Sihamoni on a trip to make donations in Kompong Chhnang province.

“Upon informing his majesty, his majesty immediately denied it,” Mr. Hun Sen said. “So I informed the prince that though he’s the son of the king father, he must remember that monarchy is a collective for the nation, not just him.”

The Royal Palace on Monday issued its own statement denying Prince Ranariddh’s claims.

“The Ministry of the Royal Palace wishes to deny and completely reject this untrue information, as has been published in newspapers,” a statement from the palace said.

Neither Prince Ranariddh nor Funcinpec spokesman Nhep Bun Chin could be reached for comment Monday.

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