Sam Rainsy, CPP Plan Talks

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Tuesday the Alliance of Dem­ocrats plans to hold unofficial ne­gotiations with the CPP this week aimed at resolving the more than five-month long political deadlock.

Meanwhile, Funcinpec spokes­man Kassie Neou said Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Rana­riddh would likely return from France to Phnom Penh by Jan 18.

Speaking to reporters at his home, Sam Rainsy said the three main political parties have already been carrying out informal discussions and would hold more talks in the upcoming week.

“Unofficial talks have yielded some results,” he said, but he did not say how many such meetings there have been, nor whom has been heading them.

On Dec 25, Funcinpec Deputy Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay met with Prime Minister Hun Sen, which resulted in what Alliance officials have said is a better understanding between the three parties.

The CPP has indicated it would not object to the Alliance’s de­mands to reform the National Election Committee and the judiciary, reduce the power of the Council of Ministers, grant deputy prime ministers responsibility over an unspecified number of ministries and give more freedom to each government minister, Sam Rainsy said.

The sticking points, however, are the Alliance’s demands to nullify the border agreements between Cambodia and Vietnam made in the early 1980s, require a vote of confidence in the National Assem­bly if at least one party decides to leave the government, and require a consensus between the prime minister and deputy prime ministers on all important government decisions, he said. He added the parties had not yet decided what would qualify as an “important” government decision.

After meeting in France with Sam Rainsy and Funcinpec Sec­retary-General Prince Noro­dom Sirivudh last week, Prince Rana­riddh told Voice of America radio that negotiations between the three parties would begin soon.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith last week said the three parties were too “far from each other” to resume negotiations. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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