Ruling party spokesman Sok Eysan said Prime Minister Hun Sen will not negotiate with Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), and was “disgusted with the idea of meeting him”.
He said there was no reason for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to negotiate with Rainsy because no one cared whether or not he was the president of the Supreme Court-dissolved CNRP.
Eysan questioned whether Rainsy had ever gained the upper hand in politics, saying he was constantly being knocked down and then raising his hands to negotiate.
“Prime Minister [Hun Sen] does not care to negotiate. Indeed, he is disgusted with the idea of meeting him. There is no reason to meet with such a person – one who is the dregs of society,” he said.
Rainsy could not be reached for comment on Monday.
However, on Saturday, he posted a video clip on Facebook of an interview with Radio Free Asia in which he was asked about his announced return to Cambodia.
He was questioned as to whether negotiations were planned with the ruling party or if only anti-government demonstrations were intended.
“We are ready. We want to find a peaceful solution and we use only non-violent means. But we cannot stay silent until they agree to negotiate with us."
“Now they don’t negotiate with us. They have dissolved us, arrested us and jailed us. They don’t want negotiations, instead mistreating us."
“So we have to find measures to bring about a peaceful solution . . . to muster our support until the government pays us heed and negotiates with us,” Rainsy said.
Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that as in war, political negotiations only took place when both sides were evenly matched.
“Does Sam Rainsy have the influence to negotiate with Prime Minister Hun Sen? He has no [power].
“So there is no possibility of negotiations with a convict. When Rainsy returns, he will probably be arrested and jailed, so any negotiation is unlikely."
“If he had the will to negotiate, Rainsy would not hurl insults at Hun Sen by saying he will come to arrest the prime minister and overthrow him. He has called on the military personnel to act against Hun Sen, so it shows he has no desire to negotiate.
“He just says such things to attract attention from people. He wants to portray himself as peaceful, but in fact, he is verbally violent. If he is verbally violent, no one will negotiate with him,” Phea said.
Political analyst Meas Nee said the CNRP did not currently have the influence to bring about talks.
“Negotiations could move forward or not. It is difficult to predict. As it stands, it is impossible because the ruling party does not seem to be clear on how weakened the CNRP is."
“There could be the risk of [the CPP] losing elections if the CNRP was allowed back. It is important to realise that if the CNRP was reinstated, it could be suicide for the ruling party,” he said.
People were waiting to see which party was trying hardest to keep Cambodia’s access to the EU’s “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement, Nee said.
He said losing it would affect some 800,000 garment workers.
“If any party is not concerned about the suspension of EBA, it means it does not think of the nation. Its leaders think only of their party. So I think Cambodian people are now waiting to see the position of the political parties,” he said.