Hundreds of opposition CNRP supporters gathered Monday night at the Phnom Penh International Airport to greet party president Sam Rainsy, who returned from a two-week trip abroad promising victory in the ongoing post-election dispute with the ruling CPP.
“We have a lot of friends in the world,” Mr. Rainsy told the crowd gathered outside the airport at about 10:30 p.m. “All countries pity the Khmer people. They support democracy in Cambodia.”
After driving to CNRP headquarters in Meanchey district, Mr. Rainsy told supporters that he would soon lay out a strategy to come out victorious in a political deadlock that has now dragged on for more than six months.
“Tomorrow, I will meet you to make our strategy to win,” he said. “Citizens, don’t be hopeless. As long as we have commitment to rescue out nation, we will be victorious.”
On his latest trip abroad, Mr. Rainsy traveled to Geneva to attend the U.N. General Assembly’s Universal Periodic Review of the human rights situation in Cambodia, met with Cambodians living in France, went on a ski trip in Switzerland, and spoke to Cambodian workers in South Korea.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said Tuesday that Mr. Rainsy’s lobbying efforts were like a dog barking at a passing cart.
“I think [Mr. Rainsy’s travels] are not affecting the [situation in Cambodia],” Mr. Kuong said following a meeting of the Cambodia-Vietnam Joint Commission for Economic, Cultural, Scientific and Technical Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Samdech Techo [Prime Minister Hun Sen] has clearly said that everything is working properly,” he said. “We have compared [Mr. Rainsy] to a dog that is barking [while] the cart is going ahead.”
Mr. Kuong said that recent high-level diplomats from the U.K. and U.S. have encouraged the CPP and CNRP to return to the negotiating table to break the political impasse, but that otherwise foreign relations are perfectly normal.
“They are not…putting pressure on Cambodia because every country has their own sovereignty,” Mr. Kuong said.