Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday said Sam Rainsy would have to wait “until the next life” before the premier would agree to give written assurance of the opposition leader’s security.
Hun Sen said when he announced last week that Sam Rainsy was safe to come back to the country, he was not, in fact, asking him to return.
“I did not appeal. I only pointed out your right [to come back],” he said in a speech to at a graduation ceremony at the National Institution for Education on Tuesday.
The prime minister’s statement last week prompted skeptical opposition party members to urge him to promise Sam Rainsy’s safety in writing.
Hun Sen said he could not issue such a written statement.
“You would wait for the letter until the next life,” he said.
Hun Sen noted that the possibility of a traffic accident was one reason for him not to put his assurance of Sam Rainsy’s safety in writing.
“The car might crash into statues of deer [in the park],” he said, but offered no explanation. “I am not an insurance company.”
He also said he would not be able to protect Sam Rainsy from possible arrest.
“If the court requests help for his arrest, I would,” he said.
Sam Rainsy has been in self-imposed exile since the National Assembly stripped him and two other opposition lawmakers of their parliamentary immunity on Feb 3.
Responding to the prime minister’s comments Tuesday, opposition party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said the only way Sam Rainsy’s car would only have such an accident if it were planned.
In his speech Tuesday, Hun Sen also said he was relieved about the formation of a new seven-member Supreme National Council on border issues, headed by retired King Norodom Sihanouk.
He told graduates that Norodom Sihanouk wanted to travel along the borders to check the frontiers 1 km at a time.
“Please do whatever,” Hun Sen said. “I would be freed…. I have dropped the burden from my shoulder.”