Two US Lawmakers Slam CPP, Praise Alliance

Two high-ranking US senators slammed the CPP and praised the Alliance of Democrats in a joint statement issued Wednesday.

“The situation in Cambodia is a growing cause for concern,” said Se­nate Majority Leader Bill Frist, from the US state of Tennessee.  “We applaud the courage and de­termination of the democratic op­position to chart a new course for that country, but we remain gravely concerned for their safety.”

While the senators stopped short of making direct suggestions for the future of the Cam­bo­dian government, they were un­sparing in their criticism of the CPP.

Majority Whip Mitch Mc­Con­nell, from the US state of Ken­tucky, said, “Unfortunately, some senior leaders in the ruling Cambodian People’s Party have a penchant for violence and intimidation…. These individuals are part of Cambodia’s myriad social, economic and political problems; they are not part of the solution.”

A “truly” democratic Cambodia is in the interest of “the entire free world,” Frist continued in the statement. “We know that under the current leadership’s watch, regional terrorists and triads have already found cover in Cambodia’s lawlessness and corruption.”

“The opportunity to clean house should not be missed,” McCon­nell added. Both lawmakers belong to the Republican Party.

Om Yentieng, an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, defended the CPP. “No other party in Cambodia can implement the democratic process even to one-third” of the degree that the CPP has, he said Thursday. He added that the party liberated Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge and protects human rights.

“We have achieved a great deal in fighting corruption and terrorism,” Om Yentieng said.

During a September visit to the US to drum up support for the fledgling Alliance of Democrats coalition, opposition leader Sam Rainsy and Funcinpec Secretary- General Prince Norodom Sirivudh met with McConnell and his fellow Republican senator, John McCain. Since the July elections, Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party have made several complaints of election irregularities. and said they would not join a coalition government with the CPP if Hun Sen remains prime minister.


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