Ranariddh Drops Demand on Riot Explanation

National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh said on Thursday the government would not be required to address the Assembly on the Jan 29 anti-Thai riots, as emphasis should be placed on rebuilding relations with Thailand rather than questioning the government’s handling of the incident.

Prince Ranariddh’s comments apparently reverse the wishes of Funcinpec lawmaker Princess Norodom Vacheara who had requested—on behalf of the Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Commission—that Prime Mini­ster Hun Sen, or a representative, testify before the house about the government response to the riots.

On Wednesday, Princess Vach­eara branded as “an insult” an offer by the government to send to the Assembly Interior Ministry Secretary of State Prum Sokha and Prak Sokhon, a senior adviser to Hun Sen.

Prince Ranariddh also declined the offer of the two officials on Wednesday, saying only they were not on the Assembly agenda.

“We have called off [the questioning] because we [do not want to affect] the general atmosphere,” the prince told the As­sembly before it dispersed.

“The Assembly has to facilitate and help the government examine and negotiate with Thailand…. It is the obligation of the National Assembly to make…relations with the neighboring country, smooth,” the prince said.

A government official said on Thursday that a report on the government’s handling of events is ready, but depends on the prince if the Assembly wishes to be briefed.

“We would like to explain to the parliamentary representatives about the government [investigation],” the official said.

“Until now, some accused that the government was behind the riot…. We are going to present our strong case against this [allegation]. The government was never behind the riot,” the official said.



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