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Funcinpec reaffirms policy of co-operation

Funcinpec reaffirms policy of co-operation

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Funcinpec marked its 20th anniversary during it's annual congress on March 20-21

by reaffirming its intentions to continue close co-operation with the ruling Cambodian

People's Party. The two day congress devoted itself to a re-emphasis of Funcinpec's

ties to the CPP in the interests of what Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh

termed "peace and national recon-ciliation".

Congress observers could be forgiven for believing they'd stumbled onto a joint

Fun-CPP event, with guest appear-ances by Prime Minister Hun Sen and H.E. Minister

of CoM Sok An provoking long, warm applause from the Funcinpec delegates. The Funcinpec

strategy apparently paid off, with Prince Sisowath Sirirath, Co-Minister of Defense

and a member of Funcinpec's Steering Committee telling the Post on March 28 that

one day after the congress Hun Sen announced during a Council of Ministers meeting

that the Fun-CPP coalition government should continue regardless of which party wins

the 2003 election. The Funcinpec decision to continue its power-sharing relationship

with the CPP is a glaring contrast to the tensions that characterized relations between

the party for years prior to the formation of the current government in 1998.

Relations between the two parties reached their nadir with the 1997 coup that

deposed then-First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh and resulted in the torture

and murder of dozens of Funcinpec loyalists. Funcinpec Deputy Secretary General Kem

Sokha said close relations with the CPP were necessary to reduce election violence.

Prince Norodom Sirivudh, is expected to replace Minister of Education Tol Lah

as the party's Secretary General.

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