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CPP still open to discussions

Senate president Chea Sim casts his ballot at a polling station in Phnom Penh last month
Senate president Chea Sim casts his ballot at a polling station in Phnom Penh last month. HONG MENEA

CPP still open to discussions

Rulling party president Chea Sim insisted yesterday the party was willing to continue talks with the opposition, a day after Cambodia National Rescue Party president Sam Rainsy urged further discussion on an electoral investigation.

But while Rainsy requested Sim to assign Cambodian People’s Party leaders to carry out discussions, there appeared little hint of concrete action.

“CPP continues to maintain good will for further dialogue to solve the remaining issues based on the result of the election and the spirit of national reconciliation, which is the best approach to ensure the harmony of our citizens,” the letter from Sim reads, after detailing the starts and stops such discussions had undergone.

Negotiations between the parties have twice broken off with both at loggerheads over the role the UN, the NEC and NGOs should play in any independent investigation. The CNRP maintains that a thorough investigation demands the presence of the UN, while the CPP has maintained such participation would be illegal.

Senior CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap, who has headed the ruling party delegation, insisted the party had never given up on political negotiation but maintained, yet again, that the NEC must be involved. The NEC weeks ago said it was too late for them to step in.

Asked for more details on what further negotiations might entail, Yeap demurred, referring back to the letter.

“Samdech [Chea Sim] has already responded. It does not matter. Any time is OK, but it must take the election results announced by the NEC as a basis and come in the spirit of national reconciliation.”

At a press conference held yesterday morning at CNRP headquarters, Rainsy said he hoped the CPP “would answer positively”.

Reached in the evening, Rainsy said he was optimistic that talks would proceed given that Sim had taken the time to reply.

“It’s a good channel that we have to maintain,” he said. “As long as there is a channel of communication, there is hope.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ABBY SEIFF

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