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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SRP denies link to Free Vietnam Movement

SRP denies link to Free Vietnam Movement

A DOCUMENT alleging "joint cooperation" between the Sam Rainsy Party(SRP)

and the underground Free Vietnamese Party (FVP) has been vigorously denounced as

a "falsification" by SRP officials.

The contentious document, printed on what appears to be SRP official letterhead and

signed by both Sam Rainsy and FVP Chairman Nguyen Hou Chan, pledges cooperation between

the two parties "to demand back Kampuchea Krom territory along the border long

occupied by the Communist Vietnamese ... and to seek a democratic, non-Communist

Vietnam".

The FVP is a shadowy organization that advocates the overthrow of Vietnam's communist

government. Efforts by the Post to contact FVP representatives in Phnom Penh were

unsuccessful.

SRP Secretary General Eng Chhai Eang described the letter as a hoax perpetrated by

"bad politicians" designed to "confuse SRP supporters concerned about

land disputes with Vietnam."

According to Eang, the document was leaked to the Sam Rainsy Party by "sympathetic

elements" within the Cambodian Interior Ministry, who alleged that the document

had been prepared to discredit the SRP. Sam Rainsy has been criticized in the past

for inflammatory demagoguery toward Vietnam and Cambodia's minority Vietnamese population.

Eang reels off a series of "obvious contradictions" in the document that

he claims give the lie to any claim for the document's authenticity.

"The document was supposedly signed by Sam Rainsy on Aug 10 in Bangkok,"

Eang explained. "But Sam Rainsy was in Paris on Aug 10, a fact that is very

easy to substantiate."

Although the document appears at first glance to be printed on Sam Rainsy Party letterhead,

Eang says the letterhead differs significantly from actual SRP letterhead.

"The top of real SRP letterhead has the party slogan of "Morality, Truth,

Justice", Eang said. "But this forged letterhead lists the official Cambodian

government's slogan of "Nation, Religion, King".

"The people responsible for this document aimed to reduce the numbers of supporters

for the SRP," Eang charged. "They want to make SRP supporters doubtful

about the basic principles of our party."

Eang denied the SRP had any official contact or policy of cooperation of any kind

with the FVP.

"The Sam Rainsy Party is just for Cambodia and the Cambodian people," Eang

said. "The FVP is a Vietnamese problem that has nothing to do with us."

Eang describes the surfacing of the forged document as just the latest of "government

inspired" actions designed to discredit the SRP and intimidate its supporters,

culminating in last month's arrests of party activists in Battambang and Siem Reap

as well as the abduction last week of SRP MP Lon Phon.

"All these events have been sponsored by powerful individuals in the government

to intimidate the [SRP]," Eang said. "This is the price of our struggle

for national unity under a dictatorial regime."

While Eang claimed that the SRP would soon "respond appropriately" to the

implications of the apparently forged document, he urged continued international

pressure on the Cambodian government to respect the integrity of the political opposition.

"We need international help," Eang said. "The UN can't abandon Cambodia

after spending more than $2 billion here [during Untac]."

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