A week after opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, called on US President, Barack Obama, to boycott the ASEAN summit over Cambodia’s deteriorating rights record, Information Minister, Khieu Kanharith, derided his efforts. Outside a media training event yesterday, Kanharith called Rainsy’s appeal – made via an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune – very misguided.
“Maybe he thinks that Obama is the boss of Hun Sen. He can do whatever he wants… but I stress that the government has never put a ban on him [Rainsy] returning to Cambodia.”
President of the new Cambodian National Rescue Party, Rainsy, lives in self-imposed exile in Paris and faces more than a decade in jail should he return. Supporters maintain the convictions are politically motivated and have stepped up efforts to see him allowed back before the July election.
Rainsy said on Tuesday that he had recently met with Kurt Campbell, the US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and was confident the head of state would pressure Cambodia on some key rights issues.
To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at [email protected]