Retired King Stands by Call To Remove Portraits

Retired King Norodom Sihan­ouk has reiterated his request that portraits of the royal couple be re­moved from public places and claim­ed that his resignation from the Supreme Na­tional Council on Border Affairs was not the result of alleged tension be­tween himself and Prime Min­ister Hun Sen.

Hun Sen in a speech Monday morn­­ing pushed for Cambodia to main­­tain the status quo vis-a-vis ro­yal portraiture and suggested that King No­rodom Sihamoni handpick a successor for the council. He, too, claim­ed there had never been any rift be­tween himself and the retired king.

“Countries that have kings have the habit of posting only pictures of the reigning king,” the retired mon­arch wrote in a fax received late Sun­day. But, he added, “[It] is up to King Norodom Sihamoni, the na­tion and the people to de­cide.”

Norodom Sihanouk also wrote that his decision to resign from the border council was based on principle, not on personal reasons.

“The president and members of the Supreme National Council on Border Affairs have no power at all to solve Cambodia’s border is­sues,” he said, citing a royal de­cree giving Hun Sen sole authority on border is­sues. The re­tired king add­ed that because he had resigned as mon­arch he should no longer hold office.

“The accusation that I have a dispute with Samdech Hun Sen is not true,” the retired king claimed.

Hun Sen said in his speech that he had written a letter to King Sihamoni requesting that he pick a successor to chair the council.

Hun Sen denied ever having bad re­lations with Norodom Si­han­ouk and said the supreme council and the gov­ernment’s border com­mit­tees had never clashed.

“Even the duties [of the border committees] don’t have disputes with each ot­h­er,” he claimed.

(By Prak Chan Thul, Michael Cowden and Kim Chan)


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