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Returned Prince to dine with journalists

Returned Prince to dine with journalists

FOUR days after his return from self-imposed exile, Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) President Prince Norodom Ranariddh has invited Khmer journalists to meet him at the Himawari Hotel Thursday, for what he has termed a "Dinner of Unity".

The Prince has been living in Malaysia since March 2007, when he was sentenced in absentia to 18 months in jail for embezzling funds from the sale of property belonging to his former party, Funcinpec.

He returned to Cambodia Sunday after receiving a royal amnesty at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

A journalistic tradition

Soy Sopheap, publisher of Deum Ampil and a well-known political mediator, said the Prince wished to address the press in the manner that has been tradition between politicians and journalists since the publication of the Kingdom's first newspaper in 1936.

"It is not about buying off journalists," Sopheap said. "It is the culture of Khmer families to show that politicians and journalists should come together to resolve political issues for the interest of the nation."

Soy Sopheap said he had been involved in brokering a deal for Prince Ranariddh to return to Cambodia since August, and that he spent over 14 hours mediating the negotiations between Prince Ranariddh and Hun Sen that paved the way for the Prince's return from exile.

Although many expect Prince Ranariddh to withdraw from active politics as a condition of his return to Cambodia, Noranarith Anandayath, an adviser to the prince, told the Post Wednesday that Ranariddh was yet to announce his resignation from politics.

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