Royalist Party Celebrates Queen’s 68th Birthday Call for King’s

The royalist party marked the 68th birthday of Queen Norodom Monineath on Friday with traditional North Korean music and dance at their party headquarters in Phnom Penh.

With the Queen and King Noro­dom Sihanouk currently residing in the North Korean capital Pyong­yang, Funcinpec’s Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh led royal relatives and monks in a Buddhist birthday ceremony followed by six female staff from a North Korean restaurant in Phnom Penh dancing and singing songs.

“Funcinpec would like to wish her majesty the Queen good health and longevity so she can help the King in keeping peace and stability for the country,” Ok Socheat, Funcinpec deputy secretary general said on Friday.

Speaking to a reporter after the ceremony, Prince Ranariddh said he had spoken with the Queen by telephone last week and requested that the King return from North Korea and negotiate a resolution to the ongoing political deadlock.

But the King will not return until the deadlock is solved, Prince Ranariddh stated.

“The King has a key role in solving the political problems,” Prince Ranariddh said. “The presence of King Norodom Sihanouk in the Kingdom of Cambodia is extremely necessary to ensure better pro­gress in the political settlement.”

Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh will return to Cambodia on Monday after visiting the King and Queen, the Prince said.

In a statement posted on his Web site on Thursday, the King reiterated that some political figures continued to blame him for not ending the country’s deadlock, while others claimed that Prince Sirivudh’s absence from the county also slowed down the talks.

Neither was true, said the King, adding that the major sticking points in the negotiations be­tween Prime Minister Hun Sen and Prince Ranariddh were the division of lucrative and powerful positions in the next government.

The Sam Rainsy Party issued a statement later Friday stating it fully supported Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s call for the King’s return to Cambodia to adjudicate an end to the political impasse.



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