Prince Makes Summit Request

Funcinpec President Prince No­­­ro­dom Ranariddh has written to his father, King Norodom Si­hanouk, asking him to intervene in Cambodia’s political crisis—clearing the way for the monarch to call a summit of the three main political parties, party officials said Tuesday.

Tol Lah, Funcinpec secretary-general, confirmed that the

prin­ce, who has been in Bangkok sin­ce Sept 25, had written the re­quest.

However, Tol Lah said he did not know whether the prince had asked for a summit inside or outside of Cambodia, the main disagreement between the ruling CPP and Funcinpec’s opposition ally, the Sam Rainsy Party.

King Sihanouk had previously responded to pleas from the CPP and the Sam Rainsy Party to preside over a summit by saying that all three parties must make a formal request. The news from Fun­cinpec appeared to clear the way for the King to call the summit.

But where the talks should be held is under debate. The King has been in Phnom Penh since last week. But he is due for medical treatment in Beijing, leading the Sam Rainsy Party to suggest that a summit might be held there or on other “neutral ground” outside Cambodia.

The CPP opposes holding talks outside the country, saying the opposition claims of intimidation are unfounded. Funcinpec has not made a public statement on a summit location.

The royal summit would be the second held by the King since the July 26 elections, which were deemed credible by most international observers but have yet to yield a new government.

The ruling CPP won the elections, gaining a slim majority in the National Assembly, but lacks the two-thirds majority needed to con­firm a new government. The other two parties in parliament have refused to join a coalition.

Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party have maintained that the CPP won through intimidation and fraud. They have demanded that the CPP make concessions, including giving up the National Assembly presidency, conditions the ruling party has refused to make.


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