In the eyes of its neighbours, Cambodia is a peaceful place, National Assembly spokesman Chheang Vun said after the first official day of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly yesterday.
Amid a beefed-up police presence and weeks of political turmoil, including the beating of two opposition lawmakers outside the National Assembly and levelling of three lawsuits against opposition leader Sam Rainsy, now in self-imposed exile in Europe, the eighth plenary of the APA has kicked off at Phnom Penh’s Sokha Hotel.
Involving parliamentarians from 22 countries, the four-day meeting aims to promote peace, reconciliation and dialogue in Asia. Speaking to reporters after the delegates’ first closed-door meeting, Vun explained Cambodia was selected as the APA host because its neighbours believe it to be a peaceful place.
“Cambodia went through a civil war and suffered for many years . . . [Peace] via the culture of dialogue is the achievement of Prime Minister Hun Sen,” Vun said, adding the APA was not affected by the opposition’s current boycott of parliament.
Today, Prime Minister Hun Sen presides over the session while Heng Samrin, president of the National Assembly, is set to be elected APA president.