Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Parties quiet amid talk of Kheng-Sokha meeting

Parties quiet amid talk of Kheng-Sokha meeting

George Edgar, the EU ambassador to Cambodia (left), and Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong shake hands during a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh.
George Edgar, the EU ambassador to Cambodia (left), and Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong shake hands during a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Parties quiet amid talk of Kheng-Sokha meeting

Officials from the ruling and opposition parties yesterday remained tight-lipped amid rumours of a meeting between Interior Minister Sar Kheng and CNRP acting president Kem Sokha on Tuesday night.

According to local media reports, the pair discussed the current political stalemate and options to allow for self-exiled Cambodia National Rescue Party president Sam Rainsy to return home.

Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said he was aware the pair had met, but offered no further details.

“I just heard a little that [both leaders] met for a moment. What they talked about, I do not know,” Eysan said.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said he had “no information” about the talks and gave no specifics about potential negotiations.

Citing safety concerns, the CNRP is boycotting the parliament, after pro-government protesters, on the heels of a rally calling for Sokha’s sacking as the parliament’s first vice president, gang-bashed two opposition lawmakers outside the assembly on October 26.

Three soldiers have been charged for the attack, while Sokha was subsequently ousted from his position by the CPP.

Meanwhile, Rainsy, who was stripped of his parliamentary immunity, remains in Europe.

He faces a two-year prison sentence for defaming Foreign Minister Hor Namhong in 2008 by alleging he was responsible for deaths at a Khmer Rouge prison camp in the 1970s.

The 2011 conviction in that case, long dormant and thought expunged, re-emerged on November 13.

Since then, he’s been hit with two more lawsuits: a defamation claim by National Assembly President Heng Samrin and a summons linked to the case of imprisoned opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour.

Last month, the European Parliament endorsed a motion submitted by Rainsy condemning the government and calling for all “politically motivated” cases to be dropped.

During the preceding debate, some European parliamentarians called for a re-evaluation of the European Union’s more than $400 million aid package to Cambodia.

Yesterday, however, newly appointed EU Ambassador to Cambodia George Edgar moved to assure Namhong the EU wasn’t considering aid cuts, the foreign minister told reporters following the meeting.

Speaking after their meeting, Edgar said only that he was concerned about the political situation but declined to elaborate on the issue.

Namhong, however, reiterated that the oustings of Sokha and Rainsy, who was also stripped of his lawmaker status, were lawful.

“The opposition can still work without Sam Rainsy; the absence of a person cannot take away the freedom of expression, democracy and multiparty policy from Cambodia.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all