Rainsy Praises Gov’t Stance on Border Dispute With Thailand

Self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy told Prime Minister Hun Sen this month that he fully supported the government’s stance in the border dispute with Thailand as well as its complaint to the UN about fighting at Preah Vihear temple.

“I would like to show the strongest support to the government who have filed a complaint to the UN Se­curity Council to ask to hold an im­mediate meeting in order to make Thailand stop its invasion of Cam­bodia,” he said in a Feb 11 letter.

“At the same time, the government made the right decision to stop bilateral negotiations with Thailand.”

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann yesterday denied that the letter was an attempt to curry favor with the premier to help secure Mr Rainsy’s safe return. “Everyone has a separate opinion about this letter,” he said.

Mr Sovann said the border clashes with Thailand were a national problem and therefore above political partisanship. “It’s the SRP’s strategy to want to help the Royal Govern­ment of Cambodia, and we do not think about politics,” he said.

Mr Rainsy was convicted in Jan­uary 2010 of uprooting temporary border markers on the Vietnamese frontier and sentenced to two years jail. He was given 10 more years in September on map fraud charges, and has remained abroad since October 2009.

A government spokesman confirmed receiving the letter and said Mr Rainsy’s thoughts were appreciated. In Mr Rainsy’s legal battle over the border markers, the Supreme Court on Wednesday delayed a ruling in his appeal as well as that of the two Svay Rieng provincial villagers involved. Mr Rainsy’s lawyer re­quested the deferral, stating he could attend. Supreme Court clerk Ch­heang Vantha said the hearing has been rescheduled for Feb 23.

The Court of Appeal upheld the convictions of all three in October, but granted an early release to the two villagers—Meas Srey and Prum Chea. All three, however, are still obligated to pay court-ordered fines and compensation totaling 63 million riel, or about $14,841.

Mr Chea, 41, said the group is fighting to quash the fines. “I appeal to the Supreme Court to drop the fine and give me justice and land to farm,” he said on Wednesday.


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