Talks Offer Little Hope Stalemate to End Soon

For the second time this week, talks between Funcinpec and CPP officials on Thursday failed to reach any agreements on the policies and organization of a new government, and politicians indicated an end to the deadlock may still be a long way away.

During a four-hour-long session, officials said the two parties debated a long list of proposals, including a national human rights commission, a demand that the prime minister answer to parliament each month, and a law defining the role of an opposition party.

Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou said royalist negotiators proposed that a new, independent human rights commission replace the current CPP-led government commission headed by Hun Sen adviser Om Yentieng.

Funcinpec also demanded that a public forum be held every three months and a national congress annually to appraise the government’s work, and that a framework be made to give more authority and a government budget to the opposition party, he said.

Though the parties had “many, many points in common already, we ran into some difficulties,” Kass­ie Neou said, indicating the CPP rejected the proposals.

“We did not agree on this, but we do not reject the possibility of examining the issue,” Prak Sok­honn, another adviser to  Hun Sen, told reporters after the meeting at the Council for the Devel­opment of Cambodia.

The outcome of the session was similar to a meeting Sunday, during which the two parties decided only to hold further discussions. Another meeting is scheduled for today.

Sam Rainsy Party’s Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang gave a muted response to the outcome of the talks. “Even though it’s not a big positive result, they agree to discuss things later,” he said. “This is still better than the deadlock in which we never talked.”

Meanwhile, Kassie Neou said Funcinpec President Prince Nor­odom Ranariddh will return to Cam­bodia from an undisclosed location on April 15. The prince left the country Sunday.


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