Sam Rainsy to King: Don’t Sign Border Treaty

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy re­­quested that King Norodom Si­hamoni refrain from signing the controversial additional agreement to the 1985 border treaty in a letter addressed to the King and dated Friday.

Signing the treaty would “insult the memory” of the thousands of Fun­cinpec fighters who “sacrificed their lives to defend our soil and our country,” Sam Rainsy argu­ed in a copy of the letter ob­tained Sunday.

Opposition parliamentarian Son Chhay on Sunday confirmed that the letter was from Sam Rain­sy, and said the opposition leader was simply trying to advise King Si­hamoni on an important issue.

“I think he has a right to ex­press his concerns to the King be­­fore any treaty would be made,” Son Chhay said.

The strongly worded letter claims that the 1985 treaty was “in­famous and unacceptable” and was “illegally” signed by a “Quis­ling” with “the power of a foreign power who figures among the chief thieves of Khmer land.”

Vidkun Quisling was a Nor­weg­ian fascist in the 1940s whose name has become synonymous with “collaborator.”

Continuing on the theme of World War II leaders, Sam Rain­sy argued that royal families who re­fused to cooperate with the Nazis were temporarily exiled but later returned as heroes. Those who collaborated, he claimed, were held responsible by history and their subjects for destroying their countries and their monarchies.

Oum Daravuth, a member of the Royal Cabinet, suggested Sun­day that some political “personalities” were taking their self-appointed roles as royal advisers too far.

“He will make his own decision whether to sign or not,” Oum Dar­a­­vuth said, explaining that the King was studying border documents closely and consulting with experts.

Government spokesman and In­formation Minister Khieu Kan­harith dismissed news of the letter.

“The King knows the border is­sue better than Sam Rainsy,” Khi­eu Kanharith said. “The conflict now is between those who work hard and those who are always ready to criticize,” he said.

Dien Del, a former resistance fighter and an adviser to National As­sembly President Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh, on Sunday said King Sihamoni would have to sign the agreement if it were ratified by the National Assembly. “He should not be blamed—if he didn’t sign, he would have to abdicate,” he said.

But Monh Saphan, a Funcin­pec lawmaker and head of the As­sembly’s National Defense Com­mission, said that according to law the decision on whether to sign or not rested with the King.

“If he thinks it’s right, he’ll sign,” he said. “If he doesn’t, he should give reasons why.”


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