Ranariddh Commits Gov’t to Noninterference

As Prime Minister Hun Sen left Phnom Penh for the much-criticized Asia-Africa conference in Ja­karta on Thursday, National As­sembly President Prince No­ro­dom Ranariddh vowed to adhere to a policy of noninterference in the affairs of other nations.

Prince Ranariddh said the first Asia-Africa meeting in Ban­dung, Indonesia, 50 years ago—from which emerged the Non-Aligned Movement—took place un­der a spirit of “noninterference.”

“When we talk about Bandung, we talk about the noninterference of one country’s sovereignty in order to liberate the country from colonialism,” he told reporters outside the Assembly.

That policy of noninterference, he added, now extends to Burma, which has recently caused a rift within the region over its possible chairmanship of Asean.

Countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines have voiced op­po­sition to the right of Ran­goon’s military junta to chair Asean be­cause of its poor human rights re­cord. The Cambodian go­v­ern­ment has ex­pressed its sup­port for Bur­ma.

“Talking about Asean issues re­garding the Burmese problem, I still abide by the principle of nonin­terference within Asean states,” Prince Ranariddh said, but added that dialogue is still needed when it comes to major Asean issues.

At Phnom Penh International Air­port, Hun Sen told reporters that he is attending the Bandung con­ference simply because Cam­bo­­­dia played a role in the initial 1955 summit. “I have no special goal. It is my duty to join the meeting,” Hun Sen said.

“Bandung was the accomplishment of our father King [No­ro­dom Sihanouk],” Hun Sen said, not­ing that Sihanouk was among world leaders, such as former president Su­­karno of Indonesia and ex-presi­dent Tito of the former Yugoslavia, who attended the first meeting.

“All the world leaders who founded this movement, except for our father King, are gone,” Hun Sen added.

Many NGOs and analysts have questioned the relevance of this week’s Bandung conference.

“It is useless. The leaders pay too much attention to the Ban­dung spir­it and what happened in the old political climate 50 years back,” said Kek Galabru, founder of rights group Licadho. “The new climate has changed.”

Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, also called the conference “out of date.”


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