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International pressure ‘useless’, says premier

US Ambassador William Heidt (left) and Prime Minister Hun Sen (second right) at the opening of a factory in Phnom Penh this week.
US Ambassador William Heidt (left) and Prime Minister Hun Sen (second right) at the opening of a factory in Phnom Penh this week. Pha Lina

International pressure ‘useless’, says premier

Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday there were lessons to be learned from last Friday’s royal pardon for deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha, explaining that he had only made the decision to offer the olive branch after his critics fell silent.

Speaking at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, the premier said his critics should stay quiet in the future when there are problems in Cambodia if they want to see them resolved.

“This is a message to say that Cambodia knows how to solve its problems, so do not put on any pressure. Hun Sen has different behaviour to others – if you put on pressure, I sleep and calmly ignore it. You can’t put pressure on this person,” Hun Sen said.

“Do not use these words ‘international pressure’,” he reiterated, before appearing to say that the recent silence from the world and opposition led to Sokha’s pardon. “When I was threatened, it was useless,” he said.

Sokha has insisted he cut no deals with Hun Sen to have his five-month prison sentence pardoned. Yet the CNRP has since the pardon made one major change long sought by the CPP: replacing opposition leader Sam Rainsy with Sokha as parliamentary “minority leader”.

It on Wednesday also issued its second statement this year repudiating a rumour that Hun Sen’s wife, Bun Rany, and the couple’s eldest son, Hun Manet, in fact “are the wife and son of a Vietnamese leader”.

Hun Sen has railed against the rumour in past speeches, and has threatened the CNRP with harsh consequences if they allow members to spread the idea.

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