A summit between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Funcinpec president Prince Norodom Ranariddh
will be a "positive meeting" and will occur before March 20, said Khieu
Kanharith, Cambodian People's Party (CPP) spokesman.
Kanharith said the date has already been set but he did not want to announce it publicly
for fear it might spark violence.
"We can say before March 20, [but] we don't want to say a specific date because
we are afraid bad activities will happen before the meeting, such as shooting,"
Kanharith said on March 11.
The Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) said yesterday that their relationship with Alliance of
Democrats partner Funcinpec remains strong even though the CPP has tried to split
Rainsy accused the CPP of spreading rumors about a conflict within the Alliance to
confuse local and international observers.
"There is nothing surprising about the summit because SRP has given the rights
to the Prince to defend a common stance of the Alliance of Democrats," said
But Kanharith said that the top CPP leaders will be meeting with Ranariddh at the
summit in his role as Funcinpec president, not as the president of the Alliance of
Since returning from Europe on March 6, Prince Ranariddh has denied his party is
split over its alliance with the SRP and promised again to push for the creation
of a new tripartite government.
However, the latest round of behind-closed-door meetings to resolve the seven-and-a-half
month political deadlock have caused suspicion between the Alliance of Democrats
partners, those involved say.
Nhek Bunchhay, chief negotiator for Funcinpec, said that senior officials of SRP
had tried to lobby the CPP to form a coalition government with two parties (CPP and
Bunchhay said that in the last week Sam Rainsy had used pro-SRP newspapers to accuse
him of betraying the Alliance during his discussions with the CPP.
On March 4, three deputy secretary generals of Funcinpec told reporters that they
rejected the SRP's idea to allow the CPP to run the government alone if the formation
of a three-party government proves impossible.
Serey Kosal said that Funcinpec had received a petition from local supports from
all provinces indicating about 90 percent support a coalition government between
CPP and Funcinpec.
Bunchhay warned that a fragmentation of the royalist party would occur if the party
failed to consider the Funcinpec-supporting civil servants who might defect to the
CPP under a one party system.
"We will not allow CPP to run the government alone; we must consider the interest
of our party which has more than 40,000 civil servants working within the government,"
Bunchhay and Kosal said, shouting over the top of each other during a press conference
in Phnom Penh.
"We must work in order to keep them a job," they said.
"The final decision depends on Samdech Krom Preah [Ranariddh]," said Kosal.
On March 5, King Norodom Sihanouk wrote on his website warning Funcinpec not to go
into a two-party government with Hun Sen's CPP.
The King predicted that if Prince Ranariddh accepts Hun Sen's formula to create a
two-party government, the royalist party will lose all credibility and honor in the
eyes of compatriots and foreigners.
Funcinpec was already very divided and weakened, the King said, and forecast a bleak
future for the party in the 2008 general elections.