US Senator Reaffirms Support for Alliance

A US senator long critical of the CPP renewed his support for the Alliance of Democrats and said the formation of the next government hinged on its consent.

“The Alliance deserves the at­tention and support of the international community as it continues to negotiate the formation of a gov­ernment with” the CPP, Senator Mitch McConnell wrote in a letter dated Jan 14. “A legitimate new government can only be formed with the consent of the Alliance and its many supporters throughout the countryside.”

The letter was presented at a meeting Wednesday between two US senate staff members and at least 40 Alliance leaders at Fun­cinpec headquarters. US staffers Paul Grove and Marc Lippet of­fered no comment on Cambod­ia’s political deadlock, but read Mc­Connell’s letter and a statement by Senator Patrick Leahy.

The CPP is locked in halting ne­gotiations with the Alliance, which has held out on forming a new government with Prime Minister Hun Sen as premier. The CPP won a majority of the parliamentary seats in the July 27 elections but not the two-thirds necessary to form a government on its own.

Speaking after meeting with the US delegates, Sam Rainsy said it was proof “that we have the emotional, political and financial support from the US.”

McConnell, who has repeatedly denounced the Hun Sen-led government, wrote that corruption and lawlessness in Cambodia had fostered terrorism and narcotics trafficking.

“What happens in Cambodia matters to the entire world…. Whether heroin or Hambali, the threats present in Cambodia impact the security of regional neighbors and the people of Cambodia,” he wrote.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith brushed off McConnell’s comments and said the Alliance’s de­mands were inconsistent with its role as the losing parties.

“Cambodian people understand the democratic process better than Mitch McConnell does. McConnell is currently betting on the losing horse,” Khieu Kanha­rith said, referring to the senator’s proposal before the election to pledge $34 million to Cambodia if Hun Sen was voted out of power.

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