SRP Letter About ’91 Peace Agreement Prompts Heated Reply from PM

Prime Minister Hun Sen fired back Saturday at a group of SRP members who accused the government of violating the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements, calling the opposition lawmakers “worthless” and claiming they had put Thailand’s interests ahead of Cambodia’s.

Dated Saturday, Mr Hun Sen’s letter to National Assembly President Heng Samrin was a reply to an Oct 13 letter from the SRP to Mr Samrin about the 1991 accord, in which the country’s factions agreed to end armed conflict and which set the stage for UN-sponsored elections two years later.

The SRP letter implied that the government broke its promise to uphold the country’s independence and neutrality by naming fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra an economic adviser last year and hosting his visits to Cambodia. The letter is signed by SRP President Sam Rainsy and party lawmakers Cheam Channy, Khim Lucky and Mao Monyvan.

Their letter also asked three questions about the government’s relations with Mr Thaksin, who resigned from his advisory post in August.

The premier did not answer these questions in his reply, saying the National Assembly was not the place to “launch any allegation or make clarification.” Instead, in his letter Mr Hun Sen called the opposition lawmakers provocateurs working to “ruin the nation,” and threw their accusation of foreign subservience back at them.

“Such allegations clearly show that the members of the National Assembly from the Sam Rainsy Party have been serving the interests of another country rather than their own nation’s during a time when Cambodia has been invaded by a neighboring country,” he wrote.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann yesterday dismissed the prime minister’s counter-claim.

“We are never subservient to any country. We help the people to protect the country, to take back the land,” he said, referring to the SRP’s claims that the government has ceded border territory to Vietnam.

The Oct 23 anniversary of the agreements has long been a sore point between the government and the opposition, which recognizes the day as the moment Cambodia’s path to peace began. But the premier has called the day “meaningless,” insisting the peace agreement would never have happened had Cambodian rebel forces backed by Vietnam not toppled the Pol Pot regime in 1979.

 

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