Government officials on Tuesday slammed the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) apparent invitation to Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRM) leader Sam Rainsy to attend its general assembly in Switzerland this week.
They called it “shameful” and vowed that the Cambodian delegation attending the event would protest any appearance by the “servant of international imperialists”.
The Cambodian delegation at the 138th IPU General Assembly, taking place in Geneva until Thursday under the theme Parliamentary leadership in promoting peace and development in the age of innovation and technological change, is being led by National Assembly second vice-president Khuon Sodary.
On Tuesday, Rainsy claimed he would inform the IPU of Cambodia’s political situation after his rights as a lawmaker “had been violated” by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s “fake national assembly and illegitimate government”.
Ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan said Rainsy “has no right to attend the IPU”.
He called the supposed invitation a “violation of the democratic rights of Cambodians” and of the Kingdom’s sovereignty.
“Sam Rainsy has no right to attend any meetings on the international stage because he is not a representative of Cambodians anymore. Sam Rainsy is a traitor and a stateless man. He is just a servant of international imperialists,” Eysan said.
He said the CPP would strongly support any protest by the Cambodian delegation should Rainsy attend the meeting.
He dismissed any invitation offered to him as illegitimate.
“Any permission given for convict Sam Rainsy to attend the meeting at the IPU is a violation of the democratic rights of Cambodians as well as the independence and sovereignty of Cambodia.
“It also violates international law, and the IPU’s leaders have to take complete responsibility for their politically biased and shameful position,” he said.
National Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long on Tuesday told The Post that he had not received information regarding Rainsy’s presence, but he said the Cambodian delegation would protest his presence at the meeting.
“We work with the IPU. The body has its own rules and it functions according to them. If it does not follow the rules, we will protest. The Cambodian delegation will protest because we have a delegation there. We have the right to protest."
“Sam Rainsy is the president of the CNRM; the CNRM is a rebel movement aimed at toppling the Cambodian government. If the IPU recognises this rebel movement as a formal movement, it is unacceptable for us,” he said.
Senior CPP lawmaker Chheang Vun, part of the Cambodian delegation, posted a video showing a meeting hall at the general assembly with a message seemingly mocking Rainsy in that only lawmakers voted in as part of the 6th mandate had been invited to attend the IPU general assembly.
“No uninvited parliamentarian has been allowed in the meeting hall. Please watch this video clip and check if you see anyone who is not supposed to be here. Maybe the uninvited one is walking outside the hall,” he said.
Rainsy did not reply to a request for comment from The Post.
But he posted on Facebook that he was in Geneva to meet IPU officials “to tell them about the situation in Cambodia and the rights of Cambodian lawmakers, which have been violated by [a] Phnom Penh represented by a fake national assembly and an illegitimate government”.
Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath said on Tuesday that the IPU was entitled to invite Rainsy to the meeting.
“First, it is their right, and second, Sam Rainsy and the former CNRP filed complaints with IPU seeking intervention after the government [sought] to dissolve the CNRP."
“The IPU requested the Cambodian government since February last year to reinstate the CNRP. So it is its right to invite him. It wants to hear what is behind the complaints,” he said.
The Post’s attempts to reach IPU officials for comment were unsuccessful as of press time on Tuesday.