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CNRP skirts talk of political negotiations

Opposition party leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha yesterday offered no outright denials that negotiations with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party were advancing toward a solution to the political deadlock, conceding that proposals had been exchanged.

On Monday, two independent political analysts privy to the discussions told the Post that the two leaders had met with and presented a list of demands to a high-ranking government official acting as a go-between for negotiations following the violent crackdowns of January 3 and 4.

The mediator passed on their proposal to Prime Minister Hun Sen, who agreed to 80 per cent of the key demands, the mediator said, according to analyst Kem Ley.

At a press conference at CNRP headquarters yesterday, Rainsy said his party had given proposals to the CPP, but only at the “working group” level.

“At the level of working groups, we have a representative who has met several times with the representative of the CPP. We have exchanged documents, proposals, but there is no agreement in view, nothing,” he said.

Kem Sokha brushed off questions from a local journalist about the talks.

“It’s nothing new. This working team we have established a long time ago.… Since the last meeting, we haven’t met again, since it was deadlocked [then],” he said, without specifying when the last meeting took place.

On the 80 per cent figure of demands agreed to, Sokha said he couldn’t deny it without knowing the source of the claim, despite the Post article identifying the political analysts providing the information.

“I don’t know which source they got that from. It’s difficult to deny and it’s difficult to say yes,” he said.

On January 2, following the violent crackdown on demonstrators near the Yakjin garment factory, the CNRP said it withdrew from planned talks with the ruling party.

At the time, Rainsy said his party would “not talk with such barbarians”, while party spokesman Yim Sovann said negotiations could possibly resume when violence ceased.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KOAM CHANRASMEY

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