Opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha over the weekend released New Years messages saying that they hoped 2017 will see more cooperation between Cambodian politicians and less use of “fear, threats and injustice” than occurred in 2016.
Sokha, who was on December 2 pardoned of a five-month jail sentence for failing to appear in court last year, said in a video posted on his Facebook page on New Year’s Eve that he wanted to see politicians fight clean as the June 4 commune elections approach.
“I would like to call on politicians as well as the leaders of Cambodia to work together to solve the rest of the problems peacefully in order allow our people to live and to earn their livings without fear, threats or injustices,” Sokha said in the video.
From France, Rainsy wrote a similar message in a post on his own Facebook page on New Year’s Eve.
“I will do my best to do anything so that every citizen from every party and tendency unite and join together as a big Khmer family to protect our fatherland to live long and sustainably, and to have solidarity to build our fatherland to have more prosperity,” Rainsy wrote.
After Sokha’s pardon on December 2, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said that he planned to soon meet with Sokha to discuss four officials from rights group Adhoc and an elections official imprisoned as part of the “prostitution” case against Sokha last year.
He also said that Prime Minister Hun Sen had indicated that the five could be released before the end of the year, though he did not say how. Sokha and Kheng have not yet held such a meeting and the five officials remained behind bars as 2017 arrived.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday said that Kheng had made himself clear about such a meeting at the end of last year. “As Sar Kheng said, he has not had the time yet,” Eysan said by telephone. “Their case is under the procedures of the court, so it is difficult.”
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said that the opposition party was ready to talk whenever possible.
“We are ready to talk; we want it today, or even right now,” he said. “But it does not depend on us.”